If you’re a long haul trucker, at some point you’re crossing the border into Canada or Mexico. Border crossings can be frustrating, with long lines, clearance access problems, and other delays. If you’re traveling to or from Canada, you have to track your fuel purchases for the International Fuel Tax Agreement. And, of course, as soon as you cross the border you’re subject to international smartphone and texting fees, which can make communication with your family or home base costly.
A number of smartphone apps make life easier during cross-border trips. Here’s five we think are well worth picking up.
The Livingston Shipment Tracker
Available for iOS and Android phones, the Livingston Shipment Tracker app allows you to access the US pre-arrival processing system and Canada’s pre-arrival system to speed up your load’s clearance access. The app includes a handy barcode scanner so truckers can check shipment status without typing in long barcode numbers.
The Simple IFTA Trucking IFTA Log
Also available for Android and iOS, the Simple IFTA Trucking IFTA Log allows truckers to automatically track their IFTA data across the lower 48 states and Canadian provinces. The system does not yet work for Alaska and the Canadian territories, unfortunately.
The log tallies up any IFTA fees between yearly quarters and issues a report that includes total miles traveled, fuel purchases, and miles per gallon.
Speaking of fuel expenses, GasBuddy is a community-updated database allowing users to locate the cheapest diesel process on trips through Canada and the US. You can locate nearby fuel stations, sort them by fuel prices, and even view gas station amenities. The app is available for both Android and iOS.
Border Wait Time App
You can thanks the US Customs and Border Protection for this handy little border-crossing app, which reports on the wait times at border crossings. The app displays how many gates are open at each location, what types of gates are open, and what the average wait time is. Truckers can use the app to plan the fastest possible route based n crossing times. At present, the Border Wait Time app is only available for Android devices, with plans to launch an Apple version in the future.
As we noted, international smartphone calls and texts can quickly produce a phone bill that costs you hundreds of dollars. Skype allows you to make free calls internationally, allowing you to stay in touch with family, dispatchers, and fellow drivers at a much lower cost than prepaid calling cards. The app allows you to set up an online phone number, receive voicemail, make calls, text, and sent files.