More info on Alabama Coil Certification

ALABAMA METAL COIL TRAINING                                                                                                                        By Len Dunman

Effective June 1, any driver delivering coiled steel to a location in Alabama or picking up coiled steel from a location in Alabama must be certified to haul metal coils by Alabama. Mercer will not offer such loads to drivers who do not have the certification. The driver must go online and take a forty-five minute course, pass the test at the end, and be issued a certificate. Upon receiving the certificate, the driver MUST send it to the Safety Department to be counter signed. Mercer will make a copy of the counter signed certificate for the driver qualification file, note the driver's computer screen concerning eligibility to load/unload coils in Alabama, and send the original back to the driver. The driver must keep the original certificate with him in the truck. There are two ways to obtain the certification online. The website is the same, but the Alabama class costs $25. A link is available to other states and the Indiana Motor Truck Association (of which Mercer is a member) is offering the same course to its member companies for $15. A credit card is required for either option. the procedure for either is the same as follows:

1) Alabama Metal Coil Training, $25: Go to www.metalcoiltraining.com and click on the box that says, "Click Here to purchase Alabama Metal Coil Training." It will direct you to set up your account and then begin the test. Be sure all information fields are completed correctly;

2) IMTA training option, $15: Go to www.metalcoiltraining.com but instead of clicking on the Alabama box as above, scroll down to the US map below and click on the state of Indiana. You will be asked for a code and you should enter Indiana07. After that, you will be directed to set up your account and then go to the test.

Please note that for either option, you must set up your own account. Mercer does not have an account and will not handle direct billing or settlement deductions on this certification. This is each driver's individual responsibility. If you have any questions, contact Jeff Gibson in Truck Inspections at extension 3128. Jeff has followed this process from the beginning and is most knowledgeable about it. It is important that this be done as soon as possible. Remember, the implementation date in Alabama is June 1.

Len Dunman

Safety Director


Cheap Netbooks Available through Cell Providers

mobile-marketing-mobile-broadband-and-netbooksLet's face it.  As technology changes, so does the trucking industry.  Can you even think of the hassle it would be to stop and find a payphone these days.  You can barely even find a payphone anymore.  Technology has come a long way.  Pagers, then cell phones, gps systems, and now computers. 

Since Mercer has created their contractor web load board, we have seen more than half of our fleet get online.  Over the course of the past year, we have helped several contractors search for, and buy computers.  Not everybody is willing to spend $500 or more to invest in a new computer. 

Obviously, if you are reading this, then you already have a computer.  But I know that many of you may read this from home, and do not have a laptop.  Or you probably know another Mercer contractor that doesn't have any computer access. 

As I was browsing through the Sunday newspaper, I found a great deal for Owner Operators that are interested in purchasing a new laptop for the truck.  AT&T was advertising, in the Louisville area, a netbook, which is a mini-laptop, for only $79!  Netbooks typically go for at least $300-$400, but if you sign up for AT&T's wireless internet package ($60/per month), then they will sell you a netbook for $79.  AT&T is only doing this in certain cities right now, and this price is for the Louisville area.  I have seen prices as low as $49.99 in other cities, such as Atlanta, and Philly.

I am sure that other cell companies will follow soon, and have affordable deals of their own.  Our contractor web will soon give you the capability of preselecting your own freight, and we will continue to add more and more options in the future.  So if you know of a Mercer driver that is looking for a new laptop, pass this info along, or have them call Heidi, or myself.


Let's make today, Guenther Proksch day!

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Hopefully some of you remember this guy.  Guenther Proksch, unit 2182.  Guenther retired from Mercer 5 years ago this month.  That's right, 5 years ago!  Oh, how time flies.  Guenther was on my board when I took it over.  Guenther was about 5 foot nothing, and had the thickest German accent that I have ever heard.  Since retirement, Guenther has passed on to a better place.  When I have a tough day, I think of the great conversations that we used to have.  If you remember Guenther, please feel free to share a few stories about him in the comment section.  Have a great weekend everybody.


Alabama Steel Coil Certification

Starting next week, I will be receiving specific information concerning Mercer drivers on how to comply with a new Alabama law that will take effect in June.  Any driver that plans to haul steel coils that load or unload in Alabama, will need to be certified by the state of Alabama to do so.  To get the certification, drivers will have to go on-line, take a 45 minute course, pass a test, and pay $10-$15.  Once the driver receives the certificate, he or she will need to send the certificate to Mercer, then we countersign it.  We keep a copy in the driver qualifications file, and return the original to the driver.  This is going to be an absolute must, if you ever plan to load or empty coils in the state of Alabama.  I will update you again next week with some more specific details.


C-TPAT

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We have visitors here in Louisville today.  C-TPAT(Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) representatives are present in the office.  The goal of the visit is to check up on our office personnel to ensure that we are taking all of the possible steps to stay C-TPAT certified.  Just an example of how this affects you, if you have ever hauled a container out of Long Beach, or out of any port for that matter, then you have hauled a C-TPAT load.  Military freight also applies.   If we do not stay current with C-TPAT standards, then we simply don't get the freight.   These standards basically apply to any freight that is going out, or coming into the country.  That's why it is very important that we follow their guidelines. 

I know that many of you do not like to sign in every time you come to our office, and you definitely don't like to wear those armbands that rip the hair off of your arm.  We don't make you wear those for our comical pleasure.  Wearing those bands, and being accounted for on the sign-in sheet is all a part of being C-TPAT certified.  Louisville employees also have to wear i.d. badges, and can only gain access to many buildings here with those badges.  Security is a big issue with C-TPAT.  We don't want anyone coming into our office and gaining computer access to find certain high visibility shipments.  It may sound far-fetched that anything like that could happen, but it could happen. 

Whenever you haul a C-TPAT load, a 17 Point inspection is required.  These are the safety steps that we require our contractors to take, so that we can retain the shippers that require C-TPAT carriers.  If we were not certified, then we would simply just not be capable of hauling many of the loads that we haul on a daily basis.  Right now, we need as much freight as we can get.  If you have any questions on C-TPAT, contact your coordinator, or Heidi, and I.


Thanks to Scott Yates, 8089

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This is the F-22, which was just flying over the skies of Louisville this weekend.  The most unbelievable plane I have ever seen.  It was Thunder Over Louisville weekend, which showcases a great air show, followed by the largest annual fireworks show in the U.S.  Great times on the river this weekend.

On a more serious note, I want to recognize Scott Yates, unit 8089.  He delivered a personel vehicle that belonged to a deceased soldier, to the soldier's wife.  Scott went above and beyond the call of duty by washing the car before delivering it, and the wife of the soldier had nothing but good things to say about him.  Stories like this make me very proud of being a Mercer employee, and really helps me prove to others that we are the best Owner-Operator company in the industry.  Lets take some time today to remember all of our fallen soldiers, and those that are still in combat today.


The new guy

Hi guys!! Jason just set me up on here today, so I'll try to keep everyone up to date with any happenings in the recruiting dept.

Thanks adding me J!!


Ozzie Smith's Friday Morning News Links

aaej0377eozzie-smith-turning-double-play-photofile-posters1Cards beat Cubbies, 7-4!  You are probably wondering what this has to do with Trucking.  Fact is, it has nothing to do with trucking.  I am a huge St. Louis fan, an Heidi is a huge Cubbie fan.  When the Cubs and Cards play, we hardly speak, and if we do speak, it is probably somewhat disrespectful.  Just put this post up for her.  Go Redbirds!  Now, on with some real news:

Werner reduces fleet size, after first quarter profits fall

USA Truck Inc., cuts costs after first quarter loss

More bad news on the economy, and freight availability

Are Mexican trucks safe enough to travel in the U.S.?  Hopefully our government will stand strong, and keep Mexican trucks out of the U.S.  I personally believe that the majority of the Mexican trucks we allow into the U.S. pose a great danger to everyone on our roads.  What do you think?  Please comment below.


Need an extention on your taxes?

Today is TAX DAY!  Hooray!  Do you need an extension?  Our friends at Central Business Services, Inc., can help you out.  We currently have many Mercer drivers using their services.  They specialize in tax service for Owner-Operators.  Here is the email that Mark just sent me:

Jason / Heidi: Yes, tax day is here and things are crazy on this end. Hope business is picking up for Mercer.
 
I wanted to let you guys know that we have the ability to file any extensions for Mercer Contractors that are not able to meet today's filing deadline electronically. There is no cost and we are happy to help if anyone needs to buy some additional time. The extension would make the new deadline for filing October 15th and would waive any late filing penalties. It DOES NOT eliminate the interest owed for late filers in the event that they owe the IRS money. NOTE ---- if they were our clients throughout the year, we would have told them the correct amounts to pay in each qtr to prevent any significant amount owed or returned...basically a wash when filing.
 
If you think it would be helpful to send a message to your fleet, please do so and let me know so we can be prepared for the calls.
Info needed:
1) Full Name of contractor and spouse (if married)
2) SS# of Contractor and spouse (if married)
3) Address
4) Filing Status (single / married / married filing separate )
Please have them call 317-813-1001 and anyone that answers the phone can assist.