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August 2015

Steel Industry Update

Labor Celebration

Monday, September 7th

Observation of Labor day is on the first Monday in September, Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894. Labor Day also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans, and is celebrated with parties, parades and athletic events. I want to personally thank you for all that you do daily. Over the past year, we have made tremendous strides and it is because of you!

In observance, the home office will be closed. Therefore, the cut-off on getting your paperwork in is by the previous Friday at noon, September 4th. May you have a safe and rejuvenating Holiday weekend!


Meet The "Best of the Best"

Mr. Pat Chrzanowski, "What Makes Me Tick"

While growing up family values, morals, and honesty were a part of my home and the foundation of who I have become. These characteristics were not drilled in or preached but as an adult I look back and they were taught through conversation and action I observed.

I spent seven years in the US Marines where the same values were a part of; Life, God, Country, and the Corp. they would say. The Marines also taught me the discipline I needed to be an Owner Operator; get yourself up in the morning, push yourself to do better each day, and don't give up when things get rough.

Read More >


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An article was published last week in the Wall Street Journal providing some insight on why our niche business is currently suffering. A group of U.S. Steelmakers filed a petition with the Federal government to impose tariffs on steel shipments from eight countries. The Companies that filed the request were; AK Steel, ArcelorMittal, Nucor, Steel Dynamics, and U.S. Steel. The petition claims that steelmakers in; Brazil, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Netherlands, Russia, and U.K. have dumped/sold steel at unfair prices. It also claims that Brazil, China, India, South Korea and Russian have illegally subsidized their steelmakers. As a result, this year steel prices have fallen an unprecedented 22% which has sent our customers and our business reeling. 
Until this mountain of steel imports is used up, our business will be slow. Our Dispatch team is working their tails off to find enough work to get us and you going. This is where I appeal to you to take the less than desirable loads that they are able to get. It is totally frustrating and demoralizing when our Drivers turn down the load that Dispatch commit to our Customers. Yes, it is not what we all are used to but it will pay the bills. Breakeven is better than going backwards.


E-Log Mandate Advances
FMCSA Sends Rule to White House for Approval

ELD's are still seemingly on target for its projected Sept. 30 publication. A Final Rule to mandate the use of electronic logging devices has been sent from the DOT to the White House's Office of Management and Budget for final approval before being published. The OMB legally has 90 days to approve the rules or send them back to FMCSA to be changed, which is unlikely. The rule, which will take effect two years following its publication in the Federal Register, will require all truck drivers who are required to keep records of duty status to use an electronic logging device, formerly known as electronic onboard recorders.


Broader FMCSA Regulations
Customers to Raise the Bar Along with FMCSA

FMCSA has been making a lot of noise lately and their reach is getting broader and regulations more stringent. Of significance is the fury in which FMCSA is amending their rules to specifically bring regulation down to the driver level rather than solely at the Company level. It's no secret that Northern Steel has faced its hurdles as a result of poor roadside performance, HOS violations and Crashes. In addition to pinning the results to the Driver as well as the company, FMCSA is now raising the bar to place liability with shippers and receivers.

What does this mean for Drivers? 

Pros: Shippers and receivers will think twice about placing unnecessary or impossible expectations on the driver pertaining to loading times, drive times or detention time and pay. 
Cons: Due to increased liability placed on our customers, the shippers and receivers are increasing their due diligence. Shippers like US Steel, Arcelor Mittal and AK Steel have all vocalized their intent to implement on-site inspections for drivers as well as inspections of their respective carriers' Safety Departments. Yes, that means they can come to Northern Steel and perform their own audit similar to a DOT audit. Their intent is to not only hold Northern Steel responsible for complying with DOT, but also hold drivers responsible for their actions. The way to do that is prevent offensive drivers from entering their facilities.  This would apply to any company the driver works for, not just Northern Steel. 
We take safety seriously and our customers do too. We have made very significant improvements, but there is a long-way to go. Keep up the good work and remember to do those pre/post trip inspections. It's the easiest way to prevent observable violations and prevent customer inspections
Safety Corner

Jen Speaks: Listen Up!

I am starting to sound like a broken record, but we continue to trend in the wrong direction in our HOS BASIC. We are now at the 86th percentile. We started the year at the 75th and we were at the 83rd percentile at the end of May. We had a combined total of 6 roadside inspections in the June & July. Of which, 4 out of the 6 had at least 1 HOS violation. Guys, unless we turn this trend, we will be subject to a DOT audit. We cannot afford to lose our "Satisfactory" rating. We are totally frustrated with the lack of seriousness and urgency. Help, our future depends on it!!

On a better note, we have continued to show a tremendous improvement in our "Crash" and "Unsafe Driving" BACIS.  We dropped to the 41st percentile in the Unsafe Driving category which is well below 65% percentile threshold. If we can get through the remainder of August without another accident, we will be down to a total of 5 during the last 12 months compared to a total of 12 the previous twelve month period.

Our Maintenance BASIC has remained unchanged, 99th percentile. Which is why we need to continue to make this our main focus. Drivers with CSA points of 40 or higher in the Maintenance basic will continue to be subject to monthly Lane Inspection for 3 consecutive months with passing inspections. Out of 16 drivers that are currently still on a monthly pull 13 of them are compliant. Nice job Guys!!

Other Important Items

We are in the process of setting up a Driver's/Terminal appreciation luncheon with Gary, Cleveland, and the Canton terminal. The dates that we have blocked on our calendars are; 8/28 (Gary), 9/11, and 9/18. We are also solidifying our next Business and Safety Meetings in October. We are looking at the following Saturdays; 10/10, 10/17, and 10/24.  Once the locations have been finalized, we will communicate them to you. The last meeting in May, are turnout was extremely poor except for the Gary terminal. We need your participation in one of the upcoming dates. So, please note them on your calendar.


New Faces


Amy Popkins
Amy joined the Toledo staff on February 9th. She filled the vacated Central Terminal Dispatch position. Amy brings 20 years of experience in Dispatch and Brokerage. Her most recent role was as a Brokerage Manager at Motor Carrie Services. Amy and her family live in the Oregon, OH.
Sandra Sibert
Sandra joined our Lake Station staff on May 11th as their Office Support to the two terminals. She brings over 30 years of experience in Transportation. Her previous employers were Falcon and Steel Transport. Sandra and her family live Hobart, IN.
Lori Everett

Lori joined our Lake Station staff as a Dispatcher for Terminal 3 on May 18th. Her and her family live in Portage IN. Lori brings over 15 years of progressive experience in transportation. Her career prior to NST was at Monarch Steel.


Did You Know?


A recent study performed showed that being dehydrated is more dangerous than being drunk and driving. When you're dehydrated, you're more prone to irritability and fatigue. Your cognitive functions, including your ability to concentrate also take a hit, and this can have serious ramifications if you're behind the wheel. According to a recent study published in the journal Physiology and Behavior,10 dehydrated drivers made twice the amount of errors during a two-hour drive compared to hydrated drivers. Remarkably, this is similar to driving drunk!

Drinking pure water every day is a key component of optimal health. Unfortunately, many make the mistake of forgoing water for other types of fluids, most of which have added ingredients that will not do your health any favors. Your body is comprised of about 65 percent water, which is needed for; blood circulation, metabolism, regulation of body temperature, and many more.







      We are proud of our philosophy of success through teamwork.
  Celebrating our drivers.
  NST creates economical efficiencies allowing you to dedicate more time to your customer’s needs.
  Drive with the "Best of the Best."
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