A Short Guide to Good Business Relations in the Freight Transport Business

In February 2013, the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and The National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) released a new version of their guide to good business relations in the truck transport industry. Their voluntary guidelines are aimed at motor carriers/drivers, shippers/receivers and other involved entities in that business. The TCA represents the interests of truckers already for 73 years, and the NITL is the nation’s oldest and largest cargo transport association which is shaping the nations freight transportation system since 1907. View their newly reviewed voluntary guide here.

In contrast to the former version published in September of 2000, this one reflects the complexity of the modern operating environment more effectively. Although the guide cannot be seen as a legal framework, its consideration is recommended. Following the outlined rules, helps satisfying mutual interests, improves work relationships and satisfaction levels, and in turn increases productivity. In general, the following three major areas are seen as crucial by the TCA and NITL: Health and Safety, Work Efficiency, and Courtesy, Respect and Fairness.

Work Efficiency

It can be summarized that reasonable effort should be invested to prevent delays in loading and uploading cargo. Therefore, deliveries need to be processed promptly and tendered with the complete paperwork. Parking slots, docks and any other unloading facilities must be kept clear at all times. To avoid physical queuing of trailers, deliveries need scheduling or rescheduling. Cleaning and discarding possibilities should be provided to truckers, as it speeds up their work process.

Health and Safety

This includes an employers’ responsibility to respect governmental security regulations such as transit times, which take speed limits into consideration, as well as assuring that loaded trailers are neither overweight nor oversized. Furthermore, drivers and workers must be kept informed about health and safety hazards as well as changes in that respect. Finally, provided equipment such as hoists or winches etc. (Find new lifting equipment here) should be in a good condition at all times, and if necessary vehicle placards utilized.

Courtesy, Respect and Fairness

The last area mainly comprises the interpersonal responsibility of a management in the transport business. Clearly, staff should be treated with respect and courtesy, but its realization certainly needs more than a backslapping and a regular payment. In contrast, the drivers’ will, dignity and rights must be respected at all times. The first tactic to a good staff-management-relation is a clear communication of what is expected from the workforce. Thus, current rates, service standards or operation requirements must be made clear to the employees. Indeed, the workforce also must be informed about any changes, problems or delays and their corresponding handling. Moreover, a regular communication between management and workforce is needed to prevent a growing gap between the two parties. In those dialogues, feedback can be received and internal problems discussed. However, each management can think about the implementation of an honest feedback system, which could be incorporated in overall Total Quality Management. Secondly, the workforce should be equipped with adequate tools and be offered appropriate and safe restrooms. Finally, an employee’s capabilities and related legal regulations must be followed constantly.

by: Jacqueline Rose

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