Trucking Market Updates

Trucking Market Updates

This winter, many importers are feeling the impact of the drayage situation at certain U.S. ports: slowdowns, delays, and higher costs.
 
Some of this is weather-related: Winter weather conditions are notoriously difficult on port and trucking operations. Snow, ice, and storms can cease port operations for a day or more, which leads to backlogs that take a week (or longer) to work through.
 
This year, there are other factors exacerbating the issue: import volume growth, chassis shortages, the ELD mandate, and driver shortages.
 
Increased import volume means busier ports and more congestion
U.S. ports saw significant growth in import volume during 2017, with growth of 7 percent at major container ports. Though it’s too early to forecast precise numbers for 2018, growth is expected to continue.
 
In addition to the strong economy, this growth is also due to the widening of the Panama Canal, which allows larger vessels — and more total TEUs — to move via that route. In general, carriers are sailing larger vessels, with more total capacity.
 
More volume, more demand for chassis
With more containers coming in, there’s a higher demand for chassis. At many ports, chassis pools are stretched very thin; there simply aren’t enough chassis to service all of the containers coming in and out. Since chassis are required to pick up and transport ocean containers, this leads to delays and fees.
 
Less trucking capacity after the ELD mandate
The ELD mandate, which took effect in December 2017, is resulting in less trucking capacity (by some estimates, up to 10-15% less).
 
The law requires drivers to log their hours electronically, which means stricter enforcement of driving limit requirements (drivers may only drive for 11 hours per day and be on duty for 14).
 
Truckers are incentivized to accept shorter, faster loads, so that they can fit more than one delivery in a day. This is difficult if they’re picking up from a busy port, and those valuable daily hours are being eaten up by waiting at the port, and unloading at the warehouse.
 
Nationwide driver shortage
The industry has already been struggling with a severe driver shortage as many drivers age out of the profession. The factors mentioned above are contributing to an already difficult market. Currently, there is a shortage of about 50,000 drivers, and drayage is one of the most affected areas.
 
Tip: Consider alternate ports and routings
Talk to your Flexport team about alternate ports (the most heavily impacted ports are listed below).
 
For example, if you usually discharge at Savannah, consider routing to an inland ramp like Atlanta, Greensboro, or Charlotte — these rail ramps are busy, but not as backed up as Savannah. Or, consider a West Coast routing, then transload and truck your cargo to its cross-country destination.
 
Below, a summary of the problems impacting each port.
 
Savannah
Major growth = severe congestion
The Port of Savannah has seen significant growth in import volume over the course of 2017, due in part to the expansion of the Panama Canal.
 
Additionally, the governments of Georgia and South Carolina have begun offering attractive tax incentives for companies that create jobs in manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution, so some companies have relocated facilities into the region.
 
Chassis shortages
Chassis are in high demand with the additional volume. Plus, with larger BCOs moving warehouses to the area (to take advantage of those tax incentives), we see more chassis tied up with dedicated BCO pools at the port.
 
The ELD mandate is hitting Savannah particularly hard
In Savannah, the impact of the ELD mandate is especially noticeable. This is because a large number of containers discharged at Savannah are drayed more than 100 miles from the port to inland facilities. Drivers are less likely to be able to complete 2 round trips within the strictly enforced limits, especially if the port is congested and they’re forced to wait.
 
Charleston, Jacksonville, Norfolk, Atlanta
Other ports in the Southeast are seeing the same sorts of issues as Savannah, but the impact is not quite as severe. Notably, drivers from these areas are being redirected to support Savannah cargo, which is exacerbating driver shortages here.
 
Chicago
Congestion and chassis shortages remain significant in Chicago, especially at the CN Harvey ramp. Trucking wait times can stretch into hours, and there’s a backlog of containers that require a chassis. Across Chicago rail ramps, there are delays.
 
Houston and Dallas
Houston first saw its capacity seriously affected by the hurricane, and has recently experienced port closures due to winter weather conditions. Capacity is very tight.
 
The ELD mandate has had a major impact in Texas, for reasons similar to what we’re seeing in Savannah — longer round-trip drays are no longer possible in a day. Rates are increasing throughout the state to compensate for these changes.
 
Newark
This is generally one of the worst-hit ports during winter, due to the one-two punch of winter weather and high import volume.
 
During this season, we see terminal closures, containers and trailers snowed in, dock doors snowed in, truck breakdowns, and trucks not starting (especially when the weather dips below 20 degrees Fahrenheit). Delays happen frequently, and backlogs can pile up quickly.
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Watch Out for Black Ice and Snowy Conditions When Driving in Indiana This Winter

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No matter where you live, you probably suffer from the same seasonal amnesia as the rest of the country. You’ve been enjoying Indiana’s mild summer and beautifully temperate fall and have forgotten what’s just around the corner. That’s why many drivers fail to safely handle the very first snowfall or the icy morning of the winter. We have all forgotten how to drive safely in snow and ice. As these are some of the most dangerous conditions we face on the highways, we offer a reminder of how to drive safely in an Indiana winter.

Black Ice: The Invisible Threat

Many of us talk about watching out for black ice, but how do you avoid something that is invisible? Black ice forms when the temperature just above the road surface is 32 degrees F or lower and it is raining. As the rain hits the road surface, it freezes. This thin layer of ice is actually translucent—not Snow and Black Ice on an Indiana Roadblack—but it blends with its surroundings, making it difficult to spot. To assess the potential for black ice, you can start by being aware of the air temperature. If it is damp and below 32 degrees, there could be ice on the surface of the road. You should also take a few minutes to walk around your driveway and the road in front of your house. If you are slipping on ice, there is likely to be ice along your route. Black ice is most common in the early morning and late evening hours when temperatures are at their lowest, and in areas that do not get direct sunlight. Your safest course of action is to avoid driving when there are icy conditions, but if you must drive, follow these tips:

  • When the conditions are right, assume the road is icy and drive accordingly.
  • Do not hit the brakes on icy patches; instead, hold the steering wheel steady.
  • Lift your foot off the accelerator. Just like braking, accelerating can cause your wheels to lose traction.
  • Do not overcorrect your steering if you feel your car sliding.

Remember that bridges and overpasses will freeze before road surfaces because they are getting a blast of cold air from above and below. Do not brake, accelerate, or turn sharply on bridges and overpasses.

Driving in the Snow

Snowy conditions create multiple hazards for drivers. Obviously, you should never head out in a blizzard as you will experience zero visibility and impassable roads. However, even a light snowfall can kick up a squall without warning and produce whiteout conditions that can lead to massive highway pileups. Snow often accumulates on highways in patches where there is little sun or it has blown off a field. Drivers should be prepared for these areas by driving cautiously on areas that are not snow-covered. The American Automobile Association (AAA) offers these tips for driving in snowy conditions:

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads, including accelerating, stopping, and turning. Following distances should be increased to eight to ten seconds.
  • Know your brakes. If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS) and need to slow down quickly, press hard on the pedal. In cars without ABS, keep your heel on the floorboard and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on a slippery road. Get some speed going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
  • Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can.

AAA also recommends keeping your gas tank at least half full all winter and storing blankets, water, nonperishable snacks, and a cell phone charger in your car until spring.

The Biggest Threat Is Other Drivers

Despite taking all of these precautions, you could still be the victim of another driver’s lack of preparation for winter conditions.

FMCSA clarifies new personal conveyance rules

 

 

After months of confusion for millions of truckers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has finally offered up some extra clarification on how personal conveyance regulations should be followed and enforced.

In May of 2018, the FMCSA issued a statement to try to help truckers make sense of how the personal conveyance provision works in the real world with current Hours of Service regulations. The biggest takeaway from the May statement was that truckers are allowed to drive their trucks (loaded or unloaded) from a shipper or a receiver to a safe parking place, even if the drivers are out of hours.

Since May, the FMCSA has been bombarded with even more questions about personal conveyance. Last week, they issued an updated set of Frequently Asked Questions in an attempt to set the record straight.

New Personal Conveyance FAQs

  1. May a driver, who drops his or her last load at a receiver’s facility use personal conveyance to return to their normal work location (i.e. home or terminal?) No. Returning home or to the terminal from a dispatched trip is a continuation of the trip, and therefore cannot be considered personal conveyance.
  2. The guidance allows for “authorized use of a CMV to travel home after working at an offsite location.”  What is meant by the term “offsite” when used in this context?  The term refers to a location, other than a carrier’s terminal or a shipper’s or receiver’s facility, where a driver works for a temporary period for a particular job. Specifically, this term is intended for construction and utility companies that set up base camps near a major job and operate from there for days or weeks at a time. These remote locations are considered “offsite” locations. Therefore, travel between home and that offsite location is considered commuting time and qualifies as a personal conveyance.
  3. Is personal conveyance treated any differently when the driver is hauling hazardous materials? No. There is no restriction on personal conveyance regarding hazardous materials transportation, provided that the driver complies with provisions of 49 CFR parts 177 and 397.
  4. Can a driver who claims the short haul exception use personal conveyance? Yes, there is no connection between personal conveyance and the short-haul exception. As always, off-duty time does not extend the 12-hour duty time limitation.
  5. How is personal conveyance time calculated in the hours-of-service rules? Time spent under personal conveyance is off-duty time.
  6. May a driver use personal conveyance when they run out of available (driving/on-duty) hours? No, except for the one exception described in the guidance where a driver who runs out of hours while at a shipper’s or receiver’s facility may drive from that facility to a nearby, safe location to park, provided that the driver allows adequate time to obtain rest in accordance with daily minimum off-duty periods under the Hours of Service rules before beginning to drive.  Personal conveyance is those times where a driver is operating solely for a non-business purpose and cannot be used to extend the duty day.
  7. Are there maximum distance time or distance limits for the use of personal conveyance?  No. However, it is important to note that the provision in §392.3 of the FMCSRs, prohibiting the operation of a commercial motor vehicle while fatigued, continues to apply. Therefore, a driver must get adequate rest before returning to driving.
  8. If a driver picks up the commercial motor vehicle from a repair facility once repairs are complete, would the driver be allowed to use personal conveyance to their residence from the repair shop? No, travel for repair and maintenance work is being done in the furtherance of the business and is considered on-duty time.
  9. Can a loaded vehicle be used as personal conveyance? Yes. Determining personal conveyance is based on the nature of the movement, not whether the vehicle is laden.
  10. Can personal conveyance time be combined with other off-duty time to complete a 10 or 34-hour break? Yes, since PC is off-duty time. However, it is important to note that the provision in §392.3 of the FMCSRs, prohibiting the operation of a commercial motor vehicle while ill or fatigued continues to apply.
  11. Can a driver be inspected during personal conveyance?  If so, what is the driver’s duty status during the inspection? Yes. Since the driver is still subject to the FMCSRs, the driver or vehicle can be inspected. The driver’s duty status would be “on-duty, not driving.” during the inspection.

The FMCSA also points out that “personal conveyance does not reduce a driver’s or motor carrier’s responsibility to operate a CMV safely, and motor carriers can establish personal conveyance limitations either within the scope of or more restrictive than, the FMCSA guidance.

 

Driver Shortage Tops Industry Issues for 2018

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NOVEMBER 8, 2018 – For the second year in a row, the driver shortage was ranked as the number one issue in the trucking industry according to The American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI’s) annual survey.

The Institute released the results of their large-scale survey last week, which included responses from motor carriers, commercial drivers and other industry stakeholders. Respondents were asked to select what they believed to be the three top issues in the trucking industry from a list of 26 possibilities. Almost one-third of respondents ranked the driver shortage as the industry’s top issue.

A Proposed Solution

With the driver shortage estimated at 50,000 by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) – a number that is projected to grow in the coming years – respondents were asked to provide a possible solution to this problem. The vast majority of respondents advocated for getting younger drivers behind the wheel faster by making it possible for 18-21-year-olds to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce. An apprenticeship program to attract, train and retain younger drivers was proposed, which aligns well with the DRIVE-Safe Act that was introduced in the House of Representatives this year. If enacted into law, this program would provide on-the-job training to 18-21-year-olds to enable them to work as interstate drivers.

 

 

U.S. Trucking Market Update: Winter 2018

This winter, many importers are feeling the impact of the drayage situation at certain U.S. ports: slowdowns, delays, and higher costs.
 
Some of this is weather-related: Winter weather conditions are notoriously difficult on port and trucking operations. Snow, ice, and storms can cease port operations for a day or more, which leads to backlogs that take a week (or longer) to work through.
 
This year, there are other factors exacerbating the issue: import volume growth, chassis shortages, the ELD mandate, and driver shortages.
 
Increased import volume means busier ports and more congestion
U.S. ports saw significant growth in import volume during 2017, with growth of 7 percent at major container ports. Though it’s too early to forecast precise numbers for 2018, growth is expected to continue.
 
In addition to the strong economy, this growth is also due to the widening of the Panama Canal, which allows larger vessels — and more total TEUs — to move via that route. In general, carriers are sailing larger vessels, with more total capacity.
 
More volume, more demand for chassis
With more containers coming in, there’s a higher demand for chassis. At many ports, chassis pools are stretched very thin; there simply aren’t enough chassis to service all of the containers coming in and out. Since chassis are required to pick up and transport ocean containers, this leads to delays and fees.
 
Less trucking capacity after the ELD mandate
The ELD mandate, which took effect in December 2017, is resulting in less trucking capacity (by some estimates, up to 10-15% less).
 
The law requires drivers to log their hours electronically, which means stricter enforcement of driving limit requirements (drivers may only drive for 11 hours per day and be on duty for 14).
 
Truckers are incentivized to accept shorter, faster loads, so that they can fit more than one delivery in a day. This is difficult if they’re picking up from a busy port, and those valuable daily hours are being eaten up by waiting at the port, and unloading at the warehouse.
 
Nationwide driver shortage
The industry has already been struggling with a severe driver shortage as many drivers age out of the profession. The factors mentioned above are contributing to an already difficult market. Currently, there is a shortage of about 50,000 drivers, and drayage is one of the most affected areas.
 
Tip: Consider alternate ports and routings
Talk to your Flexport team about alternate ports (the most heavily impacted ports are listed below).
 
For example, if you usually discharge at Savannah, consider routing to an inland ramp like Atlanta, Greensboro, or Charlotte — these rail ramps are busy, but not as backed up as Savannah. Or, consider a West Coast routing, then transload and truck your cargo to its cross-country destination.
 
Below, a summary of the problems impacting each port.
 
Savannah
Major growth = severe congestion
The Port of Savannah has seen significant growth in import volume over the course of 2017, due in part to the expansion of the Panama Canal.
 
Additionally, the governments of Georgia and South Carolina have begun offering attractive tax incentives for companies that create jobs in manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution, so some companies have relocated facilities into the region.
 
Chassis shortages
Chassis are in high demand with the additional volume. Plus, with larger BCOs moving warehouses to the area (to take advantage of those tax incentives), we see more chassis tied up with dedicated BCO pools at the port.
 
The ELD mandate is hitting Savannah particularly hard
In Savannah, the impact of the ELD mandate is especially noticeable. This is because a large number of containers discharged at Savannah are drayed more than 100 miles from the port to inland facilities. Drivers are less likely to be able to complete 2 round trips within the strictly enforced limits, especially if the port is congested and they’re forced to wait.
 
Charleston, Jacksonville, Norfolk, Atlanta
Other ports in the Southeast are seeing the same sorts of issues as Savannah, but the impact is not quite as severe. Notably, drivers from these areas are being redirected to support Savannah cargo, which is exacerbating driver shortages here.
 
Chicago
Congestion and chassis shortages remain significant in Chicago, especially at the CN Harvey ramp. Trucking wait times can stretch into hours, and there’s a backlog of containers that require a chassis. Across Chicago rail ramps, there are delays.
 
Houston and Dallas
Houston first saw its capacity seriously affected by the hurricane, and has recently experienced port closures due to winter weather conditions. Capacity is very tight.
 
The ELD mandate has had a major impact in Texas, for reasons similar to what we’re seeing in Savannah — longer round-trip drays are no longer possible in a day. Rates are increasing throughout the state to compensate for these changes.
 
Newark
This is generally one of the worst-hit ports during winter, due to the one-two punch of winter weather and high import volume.
 
During this season, we see terminal closures, containers and trailers snowed in, dock doors snowed in, truck breakdowns, and trucks not starting (especially when the weather dips below 20 degrees Fahrenheit). Delays happen frequently, and backlogs can pile up quickly.

Fourth-Quarter Trucking Outlook: Analyzing the Peak Season

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ABSTRACT:

The stakes have rarely been so high for shippers trying to navigate fast-rising rates, high freight demand and constrained truck and intermodal capacity. The pace of rate inflation may be slowing, but prices remain much higher than in 2017, let alone 2016. Thank a strong US economy, higher fuel prices, and a supply chain prone to disruption. Hurricane Florence is the latest reminder of just how fragile and prone to disruption the North American freight network is at a time when freight demand is at record levels. How will we deal with the challenges economic expansion and constrained capacity will pose as the peak shipping season for trucking approaches, and as we look beyond into 2019?

 

This webcast will analyze the current state of the market discuss how shippers should prepare for the final quarter of 2018 and beyond and serve as a primer to a deeper discussion at the JOC Inland Distribution Conference in Oak Brook, Illinois, on Oct. 20-22. https://events.joc.com/inland-2018

We’re Hiring!!! We need dedicated staff and drivers like you. Visit our careers section to see what opportunities are available today.

 

MAYBACH INTERNATIONAL GROUP
We are a Chicago Based Carrier looking for OTR CDL Class A drivers to make great money! Drivers looking to stay on the road and make great money contact us! Clean MVR, pay is based on experience!!! Teams, Singles we have the Freight and the Trucks!!!

We are looking for experienced Class A CDL- OTR drivers.

REQUIREMENTS:
1) OTR experience
2) Clean driving record
3) Stay out on the road
$.55-.60 CPM Loaded AND Empty for Singles
$.60-.65 CPM Loaded AND Empty for TEAMS
3000 Miles per wk GUARANTEED for Singles!
4000 Miles per wk GUARANTEED for TEAMS!!!
Paid Weekly!
1099
Dedicated Lanes!!
Hook and Drop!
Detention, Layovers, Extra Stops all paid for!!
24/7 Support
Flexible driving schedule

Hablamos Espanol!!

OWNER OPERATORS WELCOMED

 

312-546-7557 ext 201

Top 10 Reasons To Become A Truck Driver

 

Looking for the top 10 reasons to become a truck driver?  Look no further. If you are thinking about becoming a truck driver this list will help you make a decision. You will be entering a career that has a lot of benefits that other jobs just don’t offer.

Truck driving is a unique, proud profession, that has a lot of camaraderie among drivers. If you are still undecided on whether or not you should become a truck driver this article will help you make a decision by highlighting 10 reasons to start driving today!

1. You Enjoy Driving

In order to be a truck driver, you have to enjoy driving. Your office is basically your truck/tractor. If the thought of being on the road for extended periods of time is something you look forward to then becoming a truck driver is the profession for you. You are given the freedom to make your own decisions on the road and not have to worry about a boss micromanaging everything you do. Being a truck driver requires a lot of driving which means you have to also be good at driving. The training you receive will prepare you for driving the commercial vehicle and knowing what else truck driving entails.

2. Desk Jobs Are Boring

You don’t look forward to going to work every day and sitting in an office or cubicle from 9am to 5pm. As a matter of fact, you despise this type of job. If you don’t want to sit behind a desk and computer all day trucking is a great fit for you. You are always on the go and are always going to see something new while driving. No two days are the same for truck drivers.

3. Good Income

According to the United States Department of Labor Statistics, the median pay in 2016 for truck drivers was nearly $41,000 per year. There are not many jobs that you can complete training for in a matter of weeks and be on the road making a $41,000 income. Most jobs require longer training and more money to complete training. Along with making a good amount of money as a truck driver, you will also have job security. From 2014 to 2024 employment for truck drivers is expected to grow 5% according to the US Department of Labor Statistics. As long as you get the proper CDL training and keep a clean driving record there is no reason why you couldn’t have a truck driving career that lasts a long time.

4. You Get To See The United States

How many jobs can you think of that allow you to see so many parts of the United States? Not many. Truck drivers tend to be adventurous people that like to see all parts of this country. As a truck driver, you will have a chance to see so much of the countries landscape that most people will probably never get to. The stories that you will be able to share and the videos you record are going to be priceless.

5. Independence

While driving your truck you are the Boss. Every decision you make while on the road is your decision. By being a truck driver you won’t have someone constantly looking over your shoulder checking to see what you are doing. As a truck driver, you won’t have to deal with annoying customers or bosses on a daily basis. This is truly one of the highlights of becoming a truck driver. Sure, there are many responsibilities to being a truck driver but they are not as constant as working behind a desk answering emails all day.

6. Meet Interesting People

If you have ever had an opportunity to talk to a truck driver you know that they meet a lot of interesting people on the road. The camaraderie that the trucking industry has is real. Truck drivers have a respect for one another that many fields lack. They understand one another and are always willing to help one another out. As a truck driver, you will meet some interesting people and build meaningful relationships that will last a lifetime.

7. CDL Training Cost

The cost of CDL school is usually between $3,000 and $7,000. Whether you decide to get a loan, scholarship, pay it in cash, or opt for free truck driver training the cost to complete your training is not very high. Most professions require you to spend way more money in order to get a degree or certification. Trucking is one of the few careers that allow you to complete your training without being in debt and will get you on the road making money in a matter of weeks or a few months. How many jobs offer training that lasts several weeks and allows you to earn nearly $40,000? Not many.

8. Chances To Advance Your Career

You might start off as a truck driver but you will have opportunities to advance your career. Some options include becoming a driver manager, taking on an executive position, becoming a commercial driver instructor, or a trucking company recruiter. Note: There is even the option of buying your own truck/tractor at some point. We in Maybach group will help you. 

9. Good Benefits

As a trucker, you will also have access to good benefits such as health insurance and retirement options. Trucking companies usually offer health, dental, life, and vision insurance for you and your family. Some of the better companies will give you the most time at home and have updated equipment for you to use while you are driving for them. If you have a family or are planning on having children in the future then health insurance should be on the top of your priority list.

10. Job Demand

The need for truck drivers is high throughout the country which means you will have a good chance of finding your first job quickly. According to the United States Department of Labor Statistics, there is going to be a 5% increase in the number of trucking jobs from 2016to 2024. The demand for goods and online ordering is increasing which means more drivers will be needed. Take advantage of this opportunity and get started as soon as possible with your CDL training.

Is Trucking Easy?

I don’t want to mislead you, though there are a lot of pros for becoming a truck driver the job is still challenging. Not everyone is able to handle truck driving and its expectations. You have to do your research before entering the field so that you know what you are getting yourself into. I am here to help make that transition and decision easier for you and encourage you to take a look around so that you can make informed decisions.

Another way to determine if trucking is right for you is to talk to an experienced driver so that you can get a better idea of what it is like driving and being on the road for extended periods of time. Listen to what they have to say and put yourself in their position. Think about if you would be able to do what they are doing and describing. I highlighted the pros of being a truck driver but as with any profession truck driving also has its cons. Becoming a trucker is an important decision because you will be training for a new career that you will find rewarding for a long time.

 

Trucker Cargo Tips of the Week

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View & Verify all loads being hauled before leaving the loading dock!!

If your driver isn’t allowed to view product / be on the loading dock then you need to

contact your broker to get it writing showing the driver was unable to verify the

shipment.  Though it may not completely absolve your company from liability to damage

it would certainly help your argument if the freight isn’t loaded properly or if the

product being shipped isn’t good when delivered to the receiver.

 

Amazon quietly launched an app called Relay to go after truck drivers

  • Amazon has quietly launched Relay, its first app designed for truck drivers that make it easier to pick up and drop off packages at Amazon warehouses.
  • The app will give Amazon direct access to millions of truck drivers across the country.
  • Amazon is reportedly working on another app that would match truck drivers with cargo.

Amazon quietly launched an app called Relay to go after truck drivers

Amazon quietly launched an app called Relay to go after truck drivers  
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Amazon quietly launched an app called Relay to go after truck drivers
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See a 10 percent market correction in the next few weeks or months: Pro

Amazon has quietly launched an app designed to help truck delivery drivers get in and out of warehouses faster.

The app, called Relay, rolled out late last month and is available on Apple and Android devices. Drivers enter cargo information into the app, allowing them to check in with a QR code and get through the security gate, avoiding the manual process of badging in. At some facilities, Amazon has built special Relay lanes, according to the app page.

A relay is Amazon’s first attempt at automating the truck delivery process, which is error-prone due to its reliance on phone calls and paperwork. About 80 percent of cargo in the U.S. is transported via truck, which makes the market a big target for tech companies like Uber and start-ups such as Convoy and Trucker Path. According to Convoy, the trucking market is worth $800 billion.

While Relay may have a narrow application today, it serves as the first connection point between Amazon and potentially millions of truck drivers, a job that’s become one of the most common in the U.S. Amazon is reportedly looking into other services as well, including an app that would match truck drivers with cargo shippers.

Amazon has made no secret about its quest to become a logistics and transportation juggernaut. Over the past couple years, it has purchased thousands of trailer trucks, dozens of cargo planes and minority stakes in two cargo airlines for its Prime Air service. It’s also launched new delivery services like Amazon Flex to do package shipping on its own.

Amazon often launches new services without a public notice to test them before expanding more aggressively. For example, the company has dozens of pop-up stores and private label brands, as well as a thriving merchant lending business — all of which launched without big, splashy announcements.

Amazon may be keeping quiet about Relay to fix some technical glitches. Its Android app has fewer than 5,000 downloads and a mere 3.5-star rating, with one reviewer saying it has “a lot of glitches.”

WATCH: Wal-Mart proved it’s a match for Amazon