For better or worse...For richer or poorer....

Allied Holdings has agreed to buy Ryder System's automotive car hauling unit for $114.5 million, making the Atlanta-based carrier the nation's largest automobile transporter. The combined operation gives the company some 3,400 trucks. Jerry and Ronald Moyes, the president and co-founder of Swift Transportation are providing the financial backing for the management-led buyout of Central Freight Lines.

Allied Holdings has agreed to buy Ryder System's automotive car hauling unit for $114.5 million, making the Atlanta-based carrier the nation's largest automobile transporter. The combined operation gives the company some 3,400 trucks. Jerry and Ronald Moyes, the president and co-founder of Swift Transportation are providing the financial backing for the management-led buyout of Central Freight Lines. Central plans to use Swift and other truckload carriers to handle linehaul movements beyond its geographic stronghold in Texas. Con-Way NOW, the expedited carrier, is heading south. The expansion continues Con-Way NOW's move to full national coverage, which the carrier anticipates should be complete late next year. "The staged approach allows us to grow the business prudently while maintaining a quality service built on reliability and consistency," says Robert T. Robertson, president and CEO of the Con-Way Transportation Services. The move nearly doubles the NOW network to 47 locations in 18 Midwestern and Southern states. Paul Arpin Van Lines has sold two more of its company-owned agencies in Memphis and Houston to local owners. Wesley Ebbs, formerly the manager of Arpin of Memphis, took over ownership of that business in April, while Howell McCullah, manager of the Houston facility, assumed the reins in May. These two agencies mark the fifth and sixth company-owned agencies that Arpin has turned over to local ownership.

Foreign service Penske Logistics, the subsidiary of Penske Truck Leasing Co., has set up a new European operation to spearhead growth in response to the increasing demand for logistics services in Europe. Penske Logistics Europe Ltd., headquartered in England, will be run by Brian Bolam, formerly managing director of TNT Logistics Europe. Trism Specialized Carriers, the Joplin, Mo.-based carrier of oversized equipment, has teamed with Econofreight, one of the world's largest transporters of oversized commodities, to provide complete transportation services for commodities of all sizes throughout the world and for extra-large equipment in the U.S.

Roadway Express has developed an intranet service that allows its offshore partners and agents faster and simpler access to shipment information. Using Internet technology, agents will have Roadway's computing power at their fingertips, enabling them to perform operation functions and provide detailed information to customers worldwide. The intranet service, which goes by the name of Agent-Net, will take the place of the dial-up service and will allow agents to update mainframe information; send inquiries to the mainframe; exchange sales leads; transmit pricing requests; request a pickup; communicate via e-mail with Roadway employees; trace a shipment; and view or download sailing schedules.

Looking for shippers in all the right places The second edition of the Directory of Shippers, which offers key information on 15,000 top traffic managers, is now available from Transportation Technical Services (TTS). The directory offers the name of the decision maker, title, company, address, phone and fax numbers, plus standard industrial classifications down to the four-digit level. The 684-page directory costs $179 and is available in CD-ROM or disk versions. For more information, contact TTS, 500 Lafayette Blvd., Fredericksburg, Va. 22401, phone 888-665-9887.

Safety push Concerned about the nagging problem of unsafe equipment, the Intermodal Association of North America has set up a task force to develop standards to ensure the roadworthiness of intermodal equipment. The program includes establishing a pilot inspection program at five intermodal terminals; examining current terminal operating practices; reviewing equipment inspection; evaluating equipment maintenance; reviewing equipment maintenance tracking and reporting; and developing best practices.

In the same vein, the American Trucking Assns. has stepped up its battle to improve highway safety. As part of a two-prong assault, the group announced that it will link its Washington, D.C.-area Road Patrol program with similar state-wide initiatives. These programs use specially trained, industry-sponsored observers and cruise the nation's highways noting questionable driving by any truck. Observations are reported back to trucking company safety managers to help them encourage safe, professional driving.

The second element of ATA's strategy is to push the states to enhance their driver training curriculum by including information on how to share the roads with trucks.

In cooperation with the Dept. of Transportation, ATA has issued a series of professionally produced public service announcements designed to educate car and truck drivers about the hazards of driving while fatigued. "Awake at the Wheel," a CD with four sets of 60- and 30-second public service announcements, offers tips from a professional driver on how to stay alert.

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