The failure to properly prevent shifting loads, spilled or dropped cargo due to improper load securement, or cargo retention has comprised as many as 82% of the violations under the Cargo-Related BASIC (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category) in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program. While FMCSA has addressed what amounted to a “flatbed bias” in this enforcement category by moving cargo/load securement violations into the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC, CSA did result in trucking operations analyzing cargo securement policies and methods and make proper equipment available.
“Fleets have discovered improved ways to secure cargo,” says Darrin Paul, director-West Region at Ancra International. “These improvements have reduced damage to cargo and equipment and have translated into reduced freight claims, operating costs, and improved safety.”
Cargo claims are a concern for any fleet, notes Mark Arnold, process improvement manager at Kinedyne. “They add cost through extensive claims filing processes and profit loss due to damage and, more importantly, lead to unhappy customers,” he says. “Claims reduction is a continual battle. It goes without saying that cargo securement is critical to any trucking company that strives to succeed.”
At Save-A-Load, president Larry Sweet notes that the market for cargo securement devices has grown, in part, he says, “because CSA has created a greater awareness of the need for using effective cargo control. Fleets tell us that in addition to limiting cargo damage, effective securement reduces driver injuries.”
Save-A-Load’s Heavy Duty IQ 200 hydraulic load bar extends from 83 to 114 in. and can be used vertically or horizontally to secure loads inside trailers. According to the company, the device features an internal spring and a pressure limiting valve that provides holding power without risking damage to a trailer’s interior walls. The load bar is designed to expand and retract, compensating for flexing of trailer walls and for expansion and contraction due to temperature variations. The device also has a one-hand push button release that makes it easier to use and eliminates kickback.
Among the newest flatbed trailer products from Ancra is the manufacturer’s X-Treme webbing, which the company says was developed to provide more durable strap assemblies with more than double the abrasion resistance of standard webbing. Additionally, a new line of slider winches are produced from thinner, higher-strength steel. The manufacturer also offers the Ergo 360 winch bar, which can be rotated 360 deg. while keeping the handle and tip in alignment for better leverage.
Kinedyne offers a full line of load securement products. Flatbed items from the company include winches, winch straps, and ratchet straps. Interior van solutions include jack bars, shoring bars, logistic straps, and tracks and accessories.
“By making drivers and fleets more accountable, CSA has driven them to evaluate the load securement equipment and systems they are using,” says Bob Dissinger, director of U.S. sales at Kinedyne. “This has also led to improvements in products and systems.”
Universally, cargo securement suppliers report that they are studying and addressing the challenges trucking companies face as they develop new and improved solutions. In some cases, entirely new product lines are being designed. By working with fleets to focus on critical issues, they add, the suppliers anticipate that they can solve problems faster and more effectively.
Carriers, for their part, are not just investing in the latest cargo securement products. They are also expending effort on employee training and reviewing securement capabilities and practices as they seek ways to cost-effectively put proper load securement equipment on their vehicles.