Con-way invests in 635 new tractors

Con-way Truckload, a full truckload carrier and subsidiary of Con-way, announced its purchase of 635 new, twin-screw tractors — each of which will be equipped with an automated manual transmission (AMT).

This purchase of 575 new Kenworth T680s and 60 new Freightliner Cascadias, which are being delivered into the fleet in a phased deployment starting this month through November, represents an increase from 23 to 48% in the number of trucks outfitted with AMTs, Con-way said.

Driver surveys have indicated that AMT-equipped trucks are becoming increasingly popular, particularly with new drivers entering the profession, as it eliminates the need for the driver to operate a clutch and manually shift the truck through its gear sequence, according to the company. AMT’s shift the truck through its gears without intervention from drivers, which enables them to place additional focus on traffic and road conditions ahead, checking mirrors and employing proactive defensive driving techniques.

“Driver safety and comfort is of paramount importance to our company’s success, and we value our drivers’ input when we make fleet purchasing decisions,” said Joseph Dagnese, president. “As a result, all of these trucks are not only equipped with the very latest safety technology, they also include features installed based on feedback from our drivers that help make these vehicles a better home away from home.”

“These trucks are more powerful, and with the AMTs, are easier to drive,” said Jack Wold a professional driver for Con-way Truckload. “The AMT contributes to safer operation of the vehicle because I don’t have to hunt for a gear when I’m making a turn in traffic. I can focus more on what’s happening ahead of and around me.”

“ addition to the increased traction and improved handling provided by the twin screw axle configuration, and advanced safety features such as lane departure and blind spot warnings, front-end collision avoidance and electronic stability control, the new trucks provide drivers with many comforts and conveniences not provided by older models,” the company said. “The 2015 models have significantly more head and legroom, a larger area between the seats and better visibility. They also feature 1,500-watt power inverters that take DC power from the battery and convert it to AC power — allowing the driver to use small household appliances for preparing meals during rest stops, as well as other conveniences such as flat-screen TVs, DVD players and music players.”  

Con-way Truckload began taking delivery of the new tractors this month and is phasing in remaining units month by month through mid-December. At the same time, Con-way Truckload is upgrading its trailer fleet, retiring 1,000 existing trailers and replacing them with new trailers. The company is taking delivery of the new trailers starting this month with this replacement cycle to be completed by mid-November.

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