The Last Word

...a good month for numbers$7,000,000,000,000 A federal survey of freight movement released just last month tracked commodity shipments worth almost $7- trillion in 1997. Private and for-hire truck fleets handled $7 out of every $10 worth of those goods, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. As high as that number seems, trucking's portion of "commodity value shipped" actually slipped

...a good month for numbers

$7,000,000,000,000 A federal survey of freight movement released just last month tracked commodity shipments worth almost $7- trillion in 1997. Private and for-hire truck fleets handled $7 out of every $10 worth of those goods, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. As high as that number seems, trucking's portion of "commodity value shipped" actually slipped a bit from the previous survey in 1993, falling from 75.3% to 71.7%.

The survey measures the value, weight, mode of transportation, origin, destination, distance traveled, and other characteristics of shipments by mining, manufacturing, wholesale, and other businesses. It does not include crude petroleum shipments or shipments by farms, most of the services sector, and government establishments. Imports are also excluded.

$39,000,000 With truck sales at record levels for the past few years, it should come as no surprise that profits for heavy- and medium-duty dealerships rose 38% in 1998, according to the latest statistics from the American Truck Dealers (ATD) trade group. The average truck dealership saw total sales revenues jump $11 million to more than $39 million, according to ATD.

Net profits, though, were only a modest 3.5% of sales. New trucks accounted for just under 60% of dealer sales, while used trucks amounted to just over 14% of the total. Service and parts sales accounted for a healthy 19.3% of the dealers' 1998 revenues.

19% The news from Manpower Inc.'s "Employment Outlook Survey - First Quarter 2000" isn't very encouraging for fleets hoping to attract new drivers and other workers from outside the industry. Traditionally, the construction industry, generally seen as a prime competitor for drivers and other trucking labor, lays off workers in the first quarter. This year, the survey says, 19% of the construction firms contacted plan to add workers in the first three months of 2000, and another 64% said they would stay at current employment levels. Only 14% of the employers in construction say they will lay off workers in what is usually their slow season.

70% An analysis of fatal crashes involving trucks and passenger vehicles by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) shows that 70% of the time the driver of the passenger vehicle alone is responsible. In contrast, truck drivers were solely responsible only 16% of the time.

In intersection accidents where trucks hit passenger vehicles on the side, passenger vehicles were at fault 76% of the time; truck drivers, 13.5%.

50,000 lb. Finally some astounding truck numbers from New York City: 50,000, 150, 44, 370, 42, and 900. Those figures represent a world record set late last year in the streets of Manhattan as 42-year-old strongman Harold "Chief Iron Bear" Collins, who tips the scales at 370 lb., pulled a 50,000-lb. tractor-trailer 150 ft. in just 44 seconds. And where does the 900 fit in? The combination he pulled was a Kenworth W900L and lowboy provided by Marinello Truck Sales of Brooklyn.

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