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ISAAC Instruments: Celebrating a Quarter Century of Innovation in Trucking

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This year, ISAAC Instruments marks a significant milestone, celebrating its 25th anniversary as a pioneer in the trucking industry’s technology landscape. Since its inception, ISAAC has been at the forefront of developing cutting-edge solutions for the transportation sector, with a special focus on trucking fleets over the past decade.

The journey began in 1999 when co-founders Jacques DeLarochelliere and David Brillon turned their passion for motorsports and data analytics into a business venture. Their early work in telemetry for racing cars laid the foundation for what would become a leading technology provider for the trucking industry.

Over the years, ISAAC has evolved from working on diverse projects, including OEM prototypes for major automakers, to honing its expertise in trucking. The pivotal moment came ten years ago when ISAAC decided to channel all its efforts into the trucking industry, introducing the ISAAC InControl mobile tablet. This shift has resulted in remarkable growth, with the company now boasting over 200 employees, more than 500 fleet clients, and 50,000 connected trucks.

ISAAC’s commitment to innovation and customer success has not gone unnoticed. The company has received numerous accolades, including being named to the Top 50 Inspiring Workplaces in North America and securing a spot on the 2024 FreightWaves FreightTech Top 25 list.

As ISAAC celebrates this milestone, the company remains focused on its mission to connect people and technology, simplifying trucking, and keeping the wheels turning. With a bright future ahead, ISAAC is poised to continue leading the way in the industry’s technological evolution.

Awards and Distinctions over the past 25 years :

2024 Best Workplaces™ with Most Trusted Executive Teams
2023 Top Companies for Women to Work in Transportation
2023 Best Workplaces™ for Inclusion
2023 Best Workplaces™ for Mental Wellness
2023 Best Workplaces™ in Quebec
2023 Best Workplaces™ in Technology
2023 Best Workplaces™ for Giving Back
2023 Best Workplaces™ for Women
2023 Best Workplaces™ with Most Trusted Executive Teams
2023 Best Workplaces™ in Canada – 100-999 employees
2022 Best Workplaces™ for Inclusion
2022 Best Workplaces in Quebec
2022 Best Workplaces in technology
2022 Great Place to Work Canada
2022 Top 50 Inspiring Workplaces
2019 Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™ ranking
2018 Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™ ranking
2013 Quebec finalist for EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year National Awards
2012 Desjardins Entrepreneurs Award for Innovation and Productivity
2010 OIQ Innovation Engineering Award

Freedom Convoy: Chris Barber Sues Federal Government for Abuse of Power

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Chris Barber, owner of a trucking company in Saskatchewan and one of the key organizers of the Freedom Convoy, has filed a lawsuit against the Canadian federal government. He accuses the government of abusing its power by invoking the Emergencies Act to freeze his bank accounts in response to protests against COVID-19 vaccination mandates. Barber contends that this action violated his constitutional rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.

The lawsuit, filed in the Court of King’s Bench in Saskatoon, alleges that the freezing of accounts led to severe financial and personal consequences for Barber and his family. They were deprived of the ability to conduct basic financial transactions, resulting in hardship, embarrassment, and damage to personal and professional relationships. Barber claims he could not access money for daily expenses, leading to payment delays, loan defaults, and credit card bill issues, which damaged his credit score. It is also mentioned that his bank accounts will be “permanently tarnished.”

The government has not yet responded to the lawsuit but has indicated that it will review the allegations to determine the next steps. This case follows a Federal Court judge’s ruling that the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act was unreasonable and violated constitutional rights.

The trucker convoy, led by Barber and Tamara Lich, caused significant disruptions in Ottawa and some border crossings in 2022. The government invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time since its enactment in 1988, authorizing measures such as the regulation of public assemblies and the freezing of participants’ assets.

In parallel, a separate but similar lawsuit was filed by Lauralee Mizu, who also alleges that her Charter rights were violated by the freezing of her bank accounts. Additionally, a proposed class-action lawsuit against the convoy organizers on behalf of Ottawa residents is still under judicial review. The federal commission, led by Commissioner Paul Rouleau, concluded that the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act was justified, but the debate over its implications and consequences continues.

Guide to Becoming an Invaluable Trucking Dispatcher

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Photo : Road Legends

In the trucking sector, dispatchers are often seen as the central hub, a vital link connecting the moving fleet to the essential revenue streams that keep the business flourishing. Traditionally viewed as tactical roles focused on monitoring and allocating loads, it’s increasingly necessary for dispatchers to evolve into strategic architects of profitability. To navigate the tight margins typical of the trucking industry, adopting a business-oriented approach is not just beneficial, it’s crucial.

Dispatchers should see themselves as general managers of a fleet, controlling significant profit levers. This perspective involves a thorough analysis of revenue and cost data, identifying underperforming assets, and demanding real-time visibility into key performance indicators such as cost per loaded mile or average revenue per tractor per week.

Drill down into the details:

  • Are some customers paying higher rates for the same routes?
  • How do these rates vary for direct loads versus brokered loads?
  • Are certain shippers/receivers more reliable, saving you and the driver time?
  • How do maintenance and fuel costs vary by truck?

This level of scrutiny can reveal rich negotiation opportunities.

In trucking, prices are constantly fluctuating, influenced by varying capacity dynamics across regions and sectors. Even if compensation isn’t directly tied to these metrics, having an intimate understanding of prevailing rates by lane is crucial. This knowledge enables dispatchers to spot profit-maximizing opportunities and prioritize routes where customers are willing to pay premiums, as well as to strategically keep trucks filled, balancing discounted rates with covered fixed costs.

Modern trucking dispatch software solutions, like Truckbase, especially when powered by AI, become a major unlock for automating data entry and surfacing data to make better decisions. These systems can handle repetitive tasks such as extracting details from Bills of Lading and rate confirmations, or establishing EDI links with brokers for seamless document transfers. By automating these processes, dispatchers can refocus their energies on customer relationships and growth initiatives that will have a larger impact on revenue (and more importantly, on profits!).

Cultivating a culture of curiosity and metric-based decision-making is crucial. Encourage your team to identify what matters to your customers. Some shippers value services, reliability, and consistency more. Some loads require special knowledge for secure transport. Some brokers are always shopping for the lowest rate — work with these brokers sparingly and know they’re only there for backhauls when you’re in a bind.

Recognize what your goals are and which types of customers, freight, and rates will help you achieve them. Developing this muscle and encouraging proactive thinking yields compound returns compared to merely following instructions.

Dispatchers, traditionally the custodians of on-time deliveries, customer satisfaction, and driver experience, are now poised to be key players in strategic decision-making. By intertwining a CEO mindset and a data-driven approach with their operational responsibilities, dispatchers can elevate their role, contributing significantly to the financial success of their operation. In doing so, they position themselves as invaluable assets and potential leaders within the industry. Adopting this multifaceted approach can propel a trucking operation’s earning potential to new heights, making the dispatcher’s role not just operational but critically commercial.

By investing time and energy to increase one’s value within a company, one not only positions oneself to seize new opportunities and demonstrate importance but also increases the chances of securing better compensation, rewarding commitment and contribution to the success of the business.

Increased Vigilance Required for Fake Safety Audit Requests

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in the United States has recently issued a warning to trucking companies about phishing attempts carried out by malicious individuals. These scammers impersonate agency auditors and send emails to carriers, claiming to be from the FMCSA and stating the need to schedule a safety audit.

The emails contain a link that appears to lead to a legitimate URL on the Safer website, simulating updates to the FMCSA’s MCS-150 form. However, the page includes input fields asking for the carrier’s Personal Identification Number (PIN), Employer Identification Number (EIN), and Social Security number. Possessing this information would allow an unauthorized party to access the carrier’s FMCSA account, giving the scammers privileged access to modify information and impersonate carriers in fraudulent freight transactions.

The FMCSA emphasizes that the emails containing these links are very convincing and can easily be mistaken for official communications. The agency has shared images of the problematic modules on the web pages linked in the emails, designed to look official.

Finally, the FMCSA reminds that official communications regarding safety audits typically come directly from a dedicated FMCSA mailbox or from the state entity responsible for conducting the audit. Although these emails usually end with a “.gov” extension, the agency encourages carriers and stakeholders to verify any suspicious email or communication with the appropriate agency or to contact their FMCSA Division Office directly for clarification.

Aware of this issue, we urge trucking companies and their employees to exercise vigilance and adopt stringent cybersecurity practices to protect themselves against these phishing attempts and safeguard the integrity of their data.

ATRI Identifies Top Traffic Congestion Challenges for Truckers

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Traffic Congestion: According to a report by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), crossing the border between New Jersey and New York City continues to be one of the greatest challenges for truckers in the USA. The junction of Interstate 95 and State Route 4 in Fort Lee, New Jersey, is the most significant congestion point for road transport among the 100 identified by ATRI in its 13th annual list. This list highlights the most problematic, if not the most frustrating, areas for professional truck drivers!

For the sixth consecutive year, the intersection leading to the George Washington Bridge is once again the main congestion point in the country. Other major congestion areas include:

Chicago: I-294 to I-290/I-88
Chicago: I-55
Houston: I-45 to I-69/US 59
Atlanta: I-285 to I-85 (North)
Atlanta: I-20 to I-285 (West)
Los Angeles: SR 60 to SR 57
Houston: I-10 to I-45
Atlanta: I-285 to SR 400
Nashville: I-24/I-40 to I-440 (East)

Texas leads with the highest number of congestion areas for road transport. Georgia follows, with California, Tennessee, and Illinois and Washington tied, respectively.

The list of major congestion challenges for trucking in 2024 assesses the level of congestion involving trucks at over 325 sites on the American road network. The analysis, based on a vast database of truck GPS data, uses several custom software applications and analysis methods, as well as terabytes of data from road transport operations to establish a ranking of the congestion impact for each site.

These congestion areas represent the 100 most problematic sites, although ATRI continuously monitors more than 325 critical sites for freight transport.

According to Chris Spear, President and CEO of the American Trucking Associations (ATA), traffic congestion on the national road network has a significant impact on the supply chain and the environment, increasing the cost of freight transport by $95 billion and generating 69 million metric tons of excess carbon emissions annually. He emphasizes that the congestion areas identified in the report provide clear guidance for transportation officials on the most effective investments in infrastructure. Improving transport efficiency is a major priority, and mitigating these congestion issues would contribute to enhancing road safety, protecting the environment, and supporting interstate commerce.

$15 Million Investment to Combat Vehicle Theft

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Photo : Blue Line

In response to the alarming increase in vehicle thefts, the federal government is taking action with a $15 million investment. Announced today, this initiative aims to strengthen the capabilities of law enforcement agencies in their fight against this phenomenon, which is increasingly affecting Canadian households, particularly in urban centers.

Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions, and Intergovernmental Affairs, along with several dignitaries including Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Transport and Quebec Lieutenant, and Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montreal, outlined the allocation of this investment. A sum of $9.1 million will be allocated to provincial, territorial, and municipal police forces through the Contribution Program to Combat Serious and Organized Crime (CPCSOC). This funding will primarily be used to increase their capacity to take custody of stolen vehicles held by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Furthermore, INTERPOL’s transnational vehicle theft project will receive $3.5 million to enhance information sharing and investigative tactics on a global scale. The Government of Canada also commits to investing $2.4 million to ensure a coordinated response to this issue with its national and international partners.

Vehicle theft, increasingly linked to organized crime, has significant societal repercussions. The profits from these thefts fund other illegal activities, thereby worsening the security of the Canadian population. The federal government also intends to take additional measures, such as increasing the CBSA’s capacity to detect stolen vehicles, banning devices that enable vehicle theft, modernizing vehicle safety standards, and reviewing potential amendments to the Criminal Code.

The announced investment is part of a series of actions aimed at curbing the scourge of vehicle theft. Pablo Rodriguez emphasizes the importance of collaboration between the government, the automotive industry, ports, and the police to protect Canadians.

This announcement comes at a time when vehicle theft rates have seen a significant increase, with a 50% rise in Quebec, 48.3% in Ontario, 34.5% in Atlantic Canada, and 18.35% in Alberta in 2022 compared to the previous year. The CBSA’s interception of stolen vehicles has also exponentially increased over the past five years, from 463 interceptions in 2018 to over 1,800 in 2023.

Unusal Toll Evasion : He Takes A Ski Slope With His Truck

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Photo : France Info

If you thought you had seen everything in terms of toll evasion, think again. A truck driver recently attempted to avoid the Mont Blanc tunnel toll by taking a rather unusual route: the ski slopes of the Aosta Valley. This bold initiative is part of a trend where some motorists seem to find unexpected inspiration in ski areas. Indeed, this is not the first incident of its kind, as a car had already been found stuck on a slope near Grenoble at the beginning of February.

The truck in question, a Renault Master registered in Poland, was spotted by the Carabinieri (Italian police) as it calmly drove on slope number 7 of the Espace San Bernardo. This ski resort, located in the picturesque Aosta Valley, is obviously not designed to accommodate heavy trucks. The reason behind this escapade on the slopes? The driver wanted to avoid the Mont Blanc tunnel toll while crossing the French-Italian border.

The truck driver’s trick was to take a detour to cross the border, which unfortunately led him onto the ski slopes. Far from being discouraged by this situation, he even took the time to stop and install chains on the wheels of his truck before continuing his journey on the ski area. However, his adventure was short-lived, as he was caught by the Carabinieri after traveling only 500 meters on the slope.

The outcome of this misadventure was a fine of 200 euros imposed by the Carabinieri. In the end, the truck driver’s attempt to save money proved counterproductive. Not only was he unable to deliver his load on time, having to go to the nearest police station, but he also had to pay a fine which, ironically, was probably higher than the cost of the toll he was trying to avoid. An unusual story that reminds us that shortcuts don’t always lead to the desired destination!

Truckers announced a boycott of deliveries to New York City

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A group of truckers supporting former President Donald Trump has announced a boycott of deliveries to New York, expressing their dissatisfaction with a recent civil fraud judgment that fined Trump over $350 million. This decision follows the prohibition against Trump operating his business in New York for three years and his conviction for more than $350 million in damages in the civil fraud case brought against him, his family, and the Trump Organization by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

New York Judge Arthur Engoron issued his verdict last Friday after a several-month trial that began in October, stemming from the lawsuit filed by James, accusing the former president of inflating his assets and engaging in fraud. As a result, many pro-Trump truckers across the country have not taken the court’s decision lightly.

Chicago Ray, a trucker and ardent supporter of former President Trump, took the initiative to call for a boycott of deliveries to New York following the court’s decision, which fined Trump over $350 million in a civil fraud case. On the platform X, formerly known as Twitter, he expressed his solidarity with Trump, stating that “truckers for Trump” is not just a slogan but a tangible reality. Ray urged his fellow truckers to refuse loads destined for New York, stating that this action is a way to show their support for Trump and protest what they see as electoral interference. The reaction of truckers to this call for a boycott remains to be seen, but Chicago Ray’s initiative highlights the depth of support that some truckers continue to have for the former president, despite the legal controversies surrounding him.

Additionally, Elena Cardone, the wife of real estate investor Grant Cardone, created a GoFundMe page titled “Support Trump; Fund for the Unjust $355 Million Judgment.” She and other Trump supporters view the legal treatment he is facing as unprecedented and unfair, and see the legal battles he is facing as an attack on the ideals of fairness and due process.

The situation highlights the ongoing political and social tensions surrounding former President Trump and his supporters, as well as the potential implications for business and logistical operations in New York.

Trucking Fraud Unveiled: Ohio Owner’s Dishonesty Costs More Than Savings

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In a revealing case of deceptive practices within the transportation industry, the owner of an Ohio trucking company admitted guilt in federal court for engaging in wire fraud by manipulating shipping operations to his advantage, leading to significant financial and material losses. This incident serves as a stark reminder that attempting to cut corners through dishonest means can ultimately result in substantial costs.

Gurtej Singh, a 48-year-old business owner from Columbus, Ohio, faced charges in the U.S. District Court for orchestrating a scheme to overcharge shippers by unlawfully consolidating their shipments without consent, thereby compromising the integrity of goods destined for notable locations such as Bath and Body Works and Amazon warehouses across Ohio. Singh’s actions not only breached trust but also led to the disappearance of goods valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Singh’s fraudulent activity involved tampering with sealed truck trailers to extract goods, which were then unlawfully combined with other loads to reduce shipping expenses, often resulting in the failure to deliver many items to their intended recipients. From April 2018 to December 2019, Singh managed Cargo Solutions Express’s warehouse and later established Bhullar Transport Group LLC, which he owned and operated until May 2022, continuing his deceptive operations from a warehouse on Interchange Road in Columbus.

In a deceitful move to further his business interests, Singh falsified an application with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in January 2019, claiming no affiliations with other regulated entities, despite his connections to Cargo Solutions Express and two additional trucking firms, Roadhawk Transportation and Show Time Carrier. These companies offered interstate transportation services for manufacturers and retailers who often paid extra to ensure their cargo was transported exclusively, without being mixed with other shipments. To safeguard their goods, shippers employed serialized plastic seals and documented the serial numbers, expecting that this would guarantee the cargo remained untouched during transit.

Contrary to their expectations, Singh and his accomplices charged premium rates but compromised the security of these shipments by opening trailers and consolidating cargos to maximize their profits. They employed various tactics, such as altering seal numbers and falsifying paperwork, to conceal their fraudulent activities from unsuspecting shippers and receivers.

A particularly egregious instance of this fraud occurred in December 2018 when Cargo Solutions Express transported a shipment from Santa Clarita, California, to Reynoldsburg, Ohio, for Bath and Body Works. Although the shipment arrived with its seal apparently intact, it was discovered that 10 pallets of products, valued at nearly $230,000, were missing. A subsequent law enforcement search of the Cargo Solutions Express warehouse unearthed these missing items, alongside additional stolen goods intended for an Amazon warehouse in Groveport, Ohio.

This case underscores the critical lesson that shortcuts rooted in dishonesty can lead to dire repercussions, financially and beyond. It highlights the importance of ethical conduct in business operations and the severe consequences that can arise from attempting to exploit the system for personal gain.

TFI International Addresses Driver Inc Misclassification Issue

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Photo : La Presse - Alain Bedard - TFI International - Driver Inc

Alain Bedard, CEO of TFI International, emphasizes the critical issue of driver misclassification within the trucking industry, particularly under the current economic strain. He identifies the “Driver inc.” phenomenon as a major detriment to the sector, enabling certain unscrupulous operators to unjustly seize a competitive edge.

In discussions with analysts, Bedard voiced his discontent regarding the decline in business volumes, attributing it to the exacerbated unfair competition amid a sluggish economy. He criticized the inertia in addressing this pressing issue that plagues the Canadian landscape.

The term “incorporated driver” alludes to the improper categorization of employees as independent contractors, stripping them of vital protections and social benefits. This illicit and hazardous practice deprives workers of essential rights, including workplace accident coverage, overtime compensation, paid leave, and severance benefits.

Despite Ottawa’s initiatives to tackle this challenge, industry voices demand more decisive actions to mitigate an escalating crisis that undermines company profitability and worker welfare in an already tight-margin and rigorous schedule environment.

Bedard points out the competitive advantage some companies gain from this situation without providing rightful benefits to their drivers, a predicament expected to continue absent significant governmental interventions from Ottawa, Quebec, or Toronto.

The Ministry of Labour has adopted an educational strategy aimed at eradicating these abusive practices, with warnings that employers who repeatedly offend will face penalties. The Quebec trucking association (Association du Camionnage du Québec – ACQ) has proposed legislative changes and engaged with officials to underscore the substantial financial impact of this issue on government revenues.

Investigations have exposed a considerable underreporting of driver incomes, highlighting the widespread issue of misclassification. While authorities have intensified inspections and penalties in specific regions, there’s a growing call for stiffer penalties to discourage these unfair practices, especially those affecting newcomers to Canada.

Fiscal measures have been introduced to bolster worker protection and combat misclassification, alongside Canada Revenue Agency’s educational campaigns focused on the tax practices of “personal service corporations,” aiming to inform future compliance efforts.

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