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Pallets stacked

Freight Shipping 101: How to Pack a Pallet

When you’re shipping freight, there are so many moving pieces to worry about– Literally. Choosing a reputable logistics company like BYX is a great start, but carriers are responsible for transporting freight from point A to point B, not to prepare it for the road ahead. Carriers are in control of many factors, like properly packing the truck and not driving off the road. Nevertheless, freight can and does shift during transport. The best way to secure your freight and protect it from damage is to learn how to pack a pallet properly.

What Is a Pallet?

Pallets are nothing more than rigid platforms designed to secure and consolidate shipments. Pallets serve a few purposes, including: 

  • Keeping multi-piece shipments together
  • Making it easier to load and unload freight
  • And maximizing cargo space in the trailer

 

Most importantly, pallets help protect your cargo by minimizing movement. To help ensure your freight arrives in one piece, free from dents and dings, learning how to pack a pallet is a must. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to master. Read more

Rising gas prices visual

How Gas Prices Affect BYX and Our Customers

Gas prices fluctuate by the day. This is nothing new, but the conflict between Ukraine and Russia has caused an exceptionally painful spike. The current average price per gallon in Los Angeles County is currently $5.52, with diesel averaging $5.85, but some stations are charging over $6 per gallon. Trucking companies feel the sting of elevated fuel prices more acutely than most. To fill up a 100-gallon diesel tank costs about $585. If you’re thinking “ouch,” so are we. 

Gas prices look very different than they did in recent months. The average prices are up by 57 cents/gallon from just last month. It’s hard to believe that at this time last year, gas only cost $3.73 a gallon. Inflation is hardly a new dilemma, but now its effects are more pronounced than they have been in decades. 

Shipping companies use something called “fuel surcharge.” A fuel surcharge is a flat rate that allows the cost of fuel to be incorporated into shipping rates in a fair manner and allows shippers to have a fixed fuel cost they can count. Fuel surcharge is an important part of us continuing to operate our business and is set by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and updated weekly. 

Rising Gas Prices May Lead to Rate Hikes Down the Line

Before you panic, BYX just updated our rates at the start of 2022, and we hope to keep them stable for some time. Still, we prefer to be transparent with our customers so they understand why price increases have to happen. It goes without saying that elevated gas prices make transporting goods more costly. The farther the pickup, the more the additional fuel expenses are felt. 

The hike isn’t just felt by trucking companies. Every rung of the transportation ladder is effected, including cargo vessels and moving freight by air. Coupled with the existing supply chain crisis and materials shortage, the cost of everything is likely to increase, not just gas prices. Maintaining our fleet, from replacing tires to changing the oil, is more expensive than it was a year ago. Read more

Amazon location

Love Prime? Here’s Why Amazon Locations Are Actually a Nightmare

Say you have a particularly busy week and realize as you’re running out the door that you’re out of both coffee and paper towels. Who wouldn’t love being able to order a refill on Amazon over their lunch break? With Amazon Prime, both items will likely arrive within two days, sometimes even sooner. It’s like magic; addictive magic that we’ve all come to expect. Behind the scenes, it’s much more complicated. In reality, Amazon locations are a pain to deliver to and pick up from, and their methods may not be sustainable.

The basics of Amazon shipping

There’s a reason that your comfy pair of winter boots or last-minute birthday gift arrived so quickly. Most Amazon sellers send their goods to large Amazon warehouses. There are more than 50 warehouses across the U.S., so there’s one relatively close to almost any residential address nationwide. That’s how Amazon can promise 2-day shipping. The goods really don’t have to travel that far. Based on product availability and distance from the nearest warehouse, same-day shipping may even be available. 

There’s a dark side to all of this, however. To start, Amazon has a sizeable history of complaints regarding employee welfare and ethics. The corporate giant supposedly installed $52 million worth of air conditioning units in their U.S. warehouses to make working conditions more comfortable, but there’s still room for improvement. For example, warehouse workers at Amazon locations are on their feet all day, and they have extremely demanding quotas to fill. 

From a shipping standpoint, Amazon locations are even worse.

Packages at an Amazon location

From the outside, Amazon’s system appears flawless. While it saves customers time, it costs the drivers who service Amazon locations. At the majority of Amazon locations, wait times are killer. Of our dispatches who have serviced Amazon locations in the past, particularly one of the largest warehouses in Moreno Valley, the wait times were crushing. Drivers waiting to drop off a few pallets expected to wait for two, four, even five hours for a single load. 

One hour of wait time is typically offered free. Longer wait times are typically charged at $50 per hour to the shipper. Few payors are willing to pay those detention fees without a fight, however. The shipping companies delivering to Amazon locations then have to rope in other departments to settle the charges. In the end, it renders the shipment a waste of time– particularly when drivers are already on overtime.

To break it down, a driver’s clock in time doesn’t start until they hit the dock. If they arrive for a 12 pm appointment but aren’t serviced until 2 pm, they can’t charge detention for the time they spend waiting in line. Essentially, it ends up costing carriers to service Amazon facilities due to the lengthy wait times and price gouging. When issues arise, as they almost always do, there’s no one to reach out to for help. At the locations themselves, there’s no one around to ensure drivers are serviced in a timely manner. And if there are billing issues? Don’t even bother calling the accounting department. No one will answer. Amazon is simply such a powerhouse that they can make their own rules. Either play their game or don’t play at all. We’ve chosen the latter, for more reasons than one.

Even those of us who avoid working with Amazon aren’t immune to its influence. Virtually instant Prime deliveries make it increasingly difficult for smaller carriers to compete with the digital freight brokerage Amazon quietly launched in 2019. A brokerage which, we might add, consistently undercuts market prices, making matters even more difficult for the rest of us.

The problem with Amazon locations isn’t close to being solved. 

With an ultra-complex shipping system like Amazon’s, problem-solving is equally complex. There’s never a respite from new orders, so Amazon never has a chance to fix the structural problems that are keeping their warehouses in a state of delay and disarray. In fact, the problem is only getting worse. The more Amazon grows, the bigger their problems, and the longer the wait times. This is true now more than ever when we’re still facing an unprecedented supply chain crisis.

For this very reason, we avoid servicing their locations. While it’s tough to imagine swearing off Amazon Prime altogether, we encourage fellow consumers to give their business to small, family businesses as much as possible. At the end of the day, your neighborhood shop is probably more sustainable than Amazon’s convoluted system. 

Ships like this one are struggling to unload cargo due to the global supply chain crisis

The Global Supply Chain Crisis of 2021: Here’s What to Expect

Go to a department store and try to buy a dress for a wedding. Can’t find one? It’s not just you. The shelves have been picked clean of countless different products, from clothing to certain food items and takeout boxes. The items that we used to take for granted seem to be in short supply. Prices won’t quit climbing. But why? Our global supply chain wasn’t built for e-commerce in the first place.

To Start, the System Was Already Struggling

When a customer placed an order 20 years ago, they expected to receive their package in a couple of weeks. Now, we get antsy if it’s been a couple of days. The global supply chain, however, has struggled to meet the demand for more and more products to be delivered faster than ever. 

While ordering a product online might seem like the easy option, there’s more to it behind the scenes. The process to actually manufacturer a product, sell it, and deliver it to your doorstep is complex. First, the supplies to produce the product need to be shipped to the manufacturer. Then, the products have to make their way through a complicated import and export system to make it to U.S. retailers. Then, products are shipped, often being passed through many hands before they make it to your door.  Read more

pallet shipping

Pallet Prices Remain Sky High. Here’s What It Means For You

For decades, pallets were commonplace and inexpensive. They were so easy to come by that people even made tutorials on how to repurpose them, making them into DIY furniture. Unfortunately, the days of turning old pallets into bookshelves and garden art are on pause. Earlier in 2021, the prices of lumber soared, and the prices of every single wooden pallet rose along with them. But why? 

Like countless other problems, the lumber shortage began with COVID

To start, the lockdown in early 2020 had all of us stuck at home. While some of us spontaneously learned to bake bread, thousands of others decided it would be the perfect time to start that DIY home improvement project they’d been putting off. The demand for lumber increased, but there was a problem: The sawmills weren’t even open.  Read more

accessorial

What Customers Need to Know About Accessorial Fees

Was your last freight bill more than you expected it to be? These added charges are called accessorials. If you don’t know what an accessorial covers, it can come as an unpleasant surprise. As frustrating as that may be, there’s almost certainly a good reason why the invoice exceeded the original estimate. 

Why Freight Shipping Costs Aren’t Cut and Dry

Wouldn’t it be nice if freight charges were as straightforward as shopping at Target? In retail stores, the price advertised on the tag is always exact, aside from sales tax. That’s because there are no surprises for the item’s manufacturer. By the time you toss it in your cart, there’s nothing that could possibly add to the company’s expenses. 

The world of freight shipping is more like plumbing or similar trade industries. We give estimates, but factors beyond our control contribute to the final bill. These accessorials are necessary to help us recover the costs of overweight shipments, inaccessible delivery locations, and similar factors that add to the expense of a given shipment.

Due to the nature of the shipping process, we typically apply fees after shipments are completed. This is because many accessorial causes occur during the shipping process itself. For this reason, the final bill may look different than our first estimate.

 

Our previous blog post went over a few of the elements that contribute to shipping costs. Let’s go over accessorial charges in more detail to help you better understand why they occur and how to avoid them. 

Read more

Top 5 Benefits of Using a Warehouse Management System

Businesses are always on the lookout for ways to operate more efficiently. Any business offering physical products to its customers runs into a dilemma. How and where does one store them after they’re manufactured? Depending on the product, the amount of space required can be daunting, so the warehouse management system was born.

Warehousing allows companies to safely store surplus inventory as long as needed with ease. At the same time, companies reduce their overall operating expenses. So how does it work? Let’s get to the good stuff.  Read more

BYX warehouse

Big News: A Bigger, Better BYX is Coming Soon

Spring has sprung, flowers are growing and so are we! 

When BYX was founded in 1978, the company was run out of the back of a single pickup truck. By the time we took on Hewlett Packard as a client in the 80s, we had outgrown pickups and added tractors and bobtails to our fleet. Each decade of business welcomed new trucks, new technology and new clients. 

After 43 years of business, we’re thrilled to announce that our company is growing even more. This summer, BYX is expanding into a new class-A building to help us serve even more amazing business owners throughout Southern California.  Read more

truck driver vaccine

Truck Drivers Need Vaccines. Here’s Where They Stand

When Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson rolled out the first COVID-19 vaccines in December, most of us breathed a sigh of relief. We knew that vaccines would be offered in stages, and we expected senior citizens, high-risk individuals, and essential workers to be given first priority. (As they should!) What we didn’t expect was that truck drivers would come almost last. 

The CDC has broken vaccine recommendations into three phases. Phase 1A includes health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. Phase 1B includes people over 75 and frontline essential workers. The last phase, Phase 1C includes people between 65-75, people under 65 with elevated risk, and other essential workers. For now, truck drivers are considered other essential workers, falling into the last phase of early vaccine rollouts.  Read more

Trucking and the Environment: How We’re Helping

If recent events have made one thing clear, it’s that the trucking industry isn’t disappearing anytime soon. About 70% of our consumer goods are shipped via truck, and the impact of trucking on our daily lives is astoundingly beneficial. The impact of trucking on the environment is another story.

Trucking produces a substantial quantity of greenhouse gasses

As of 2016, medium and heavy-duty trucks contribute to about 24% of the greenhouse gasses emitted in the transportation sector. Compared to passenger vehicles at 42%, that’s not bad at all. Still, with around 15.5 million commercial vehicles on the road, the environmental impact has been substantial. Read more