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Not so fast Seems that shippers and receivers are not the only ones receiving truckers' wrath. A nationwide survey of truck drivers indicated that intermodal terminals could use some improvement. Conducted by ATA's Intermodal Conference, the survey graded performance at 335 terminals throughout the U.S. Drivers were asked to rate terminals on a wide range of issues, including turnaround time, staff

Not so fast Seems that shippers and receivers are not the only ones receiving truckers' wrath. A nationwide survey of truck drivers indicated that intermodal terminals could use some improvement. Conducted by ATA's Intermodal Conference, the survey graded performance at 335 terminals throughout the U.S. Drivers were asked to rate terminals on a wide range of issues, including turnaround time, staff support, efficiency at the front gate, and conditions in the yard. Based on the responses, five key elements of success were identified:

A professional staff committed to customer service;

Quick turnaround time;

Good equipment;

Well-designed facilities that are well-maintained; and

Efficient processing systems.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of terminals fall short. Comments criticizing the lack of adequate pay phones and rest rooms "were surprisingly numerous," the ATA group said. "This suggests that many terminals need to re-think the care and concern they give to the drivers." Drivers were also critical of pavement quality and maintenance efforts.

The intermodal conference also sought comment from terminal operators. They suggested that drivers could improve the situation by providing advance notice of their arrivals, having all their paperwork completed ahead of time, and finding ways to reduce the paper trail. Terminal operators also reiterated the need for drivers to stay on schedule and work on advisory councils.

Don't get even, get MADD Representatives from Landstar System teamed with National 76 Auto/ Truckstops and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) over the holidays to spread the word about highway safety and to continue the fight against drinking and driving. The effort involved distribution of MADD red ribbons, gifts, and safety information to professional drivers and other motorists.

"We want to start the season off right by encouraging people to think before they drink," said Katherine Prescott, MADD national president.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Based on 1994 statistics, 1.4% of truck drivers involved in fatal crashes were intoxicated (0.10 blood alcohol concentration or greater), compared to 19.4% for passenger cars.

Competition heating up I In a restructuring of its linehaul and terminal operations, American Freightways Corp. last month laid off 1,000 workers, mostly part-time dock workers, but also including a portion of full-time dock workers. Under the reorganization, that work will be handled by pickup-and-delivery drivers who will work on the dock for a portion of their work shifts. Remaining dock workers will be encouraged through training and pay incentives to become drivers.

The move is designed to increase customer service and improve efficiency, according to the company. American Freightways said survival in the highly competitive less-than-truckload market requires a highly skilled and well compensated work force. Full-time workers, not part-timers, are part of that future.

Competition heating up II Competition in the electric utilities market is warming up. Today, there are roughly 3,200 electric utilities throughout the country according to Deloitte and Touche. Most of the electricity consumed in the U.S. has been provided by investor-owned electric utilities, state or local government-owned utilities, rural electric cooperatives, or the federal government. Since the early part of this century, these utilities have generally operated without competition as monopolies in their service territories subject to extensive rate and service regulation. With the advent of a new generation of technologies and low natural-gas prices, the rates are moving away from the cost-of-service approach toward a market-based approach.

Into this new charged environment steps Penske Truck Leasing, which has inked a deal to provide contract maintenance for 230 of Dayton Power and Light's vehicles. "We think the utility industry offers tremendous potential for growth, and we have dedicated resources to serve this emerging market," says Brian Hard, president of Penske. So encouraging is the activity in this market that Penske has set up an Energy and Telecommunications Services Group to specialize in providing service for this industry.

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