Just like carriers, cargo securement and control system suppliers are reacting to the recession through several strategies. New product offerings, enhancements and close attention to customer needs are helping the industry withstand the economic downturn. The suppliers are working to identify specific needs while providing additional growth opportunities for customers. “During this recession, we are seeing our fleet customers working to try to maximize the efficiency of the equipment they are running,” says Ancra International marketing manager Ed Gohata. “That has increased demand for products like our decking systems that allow fleets to get more cube by stacking cargo higher in the trailer.
“We are also seeing fleets diversifying into new markets,” he notes. “For instance, there has been more interest in our roller floors because they enable fleets to also carry the specialized air freight pallets called igloos.”
The end result, Gohata says, is more partnerships with the businesses. “We are finding that we depend upon each other more than ever before,” he adds.
Like Ancra, Kinedyne has used the downturn to forge closer ties with customers and make enhancements to its product line. “With fluctuating gas prices and the weakened economy, the transportation industry is facing some tough times on and off the road,” says James Klausmann II, Kinedyne's executive vp. “That's why, in 2009, Kinedyne is redoubling its long-standing commitment to exceptional product quality, while also working with our customers to make sure their needs are met.”
This spring, Kinedyne unveiled “StrapPak,” an accessory designed to help secure the loose end of a ratchet strap. The company also redesigned its Series E/A decking beams to include several improvements, such as the inclusion of Kinedyne's “KwikLatch” trigger release with ergonomic finger tabs on both sides of the beam head to make it easier to release the beam from the track.
“We cover everything, even light-duty,” says Roll-Rite spokesperson Cindy Cook, “We are really known for our innovation and vocation-specific product line. We brought out a system of gear motors, for instance, with different torque capabilities, depending upon the length and weight of the tarp you need to handle.”
Cook says that Roll-Rite has also seen some market segments expand more than others during the recession. “Our waste market has expanded more rapidly over the past couple of years,” she notes. “Solid waste and scrap have been stronger.”
Changes to truck size and weight limits may also trigger a new wave of customer-centered product development in the cargo control industry. The current debate about whether or not to permit heavier trucks on U.S. highways is bringing with it new concerns about braking force and cargo securement that will have to be considered.
John H. Hill, then chief administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), raised the subject himself back in January at a briefing session with reporters. “FMCSA does not have jurisdiction over size and weight issues,” he said. “That being said, there are some safety concerns that need to be addressed with heavier trucks.” Among those concerns Hill included were “braking force and [cargo] securement issues.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT THESE WEB SITES:
AERO INDUSTRIES INC
A&R TARPAULINS INC.
CENTRAL TARP & AWNING
CHAMELEON TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS
NEILLY CANVAS GOODS CO.
SULLIVAN & BRAMPTON