One good turn deserves another Three Carrier Transicold customers marshaled their resources to aid victims of the devastating Red River flood in Grand Forks, N.D., earlier this summer. Pro Transport and Prairie Lines, both of Grand Forks, and Holland Enterprises of Fargo, donated tractors, refrigerated trailers and personnel in an effort to deliver and store perishable foods and water for 50,000 people.
In the good news department, Western Star Trucks and its customers continue to work to help locate missing or abducted children through its "Home Run: Truckers Going to Bat for Lost Children." Scott Adams of E.S. Adams Trucking in Seward, Pa., stepped up to the plate and issued a challenge to all Western Star truck owners to donate $10 for each Western Star in the fleet. He donated $140 to cover the 14 trucks in his fleet.
Hazel Ferguson, owner of Harrow Transport, Mississauga, Canada, after matching Adams' challenge with a $710 donation covering her 71 units, raised the ante by broadening the challenge to include a contribution for all trucks, regardless of make.
Jim Nevin of Nevin Trucking in Monongahela, Pa., met that challenge and developed "Home Run" stickers and trailer panels.
Donations should be made payable to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, c/o Western Star Trucks, P.O. Box 111949, Nashville, Tenn. 37222-1949. Be sure to include names and address.
Last year, Western Star sparked an industry effort that raised more than $80,000 for the center.
What's the alternative? Provisions of the 1990 Clean Air Act and the Energy Policy Act of 1992 rely on fleets to take the lead in introducing new alternative fuel and vehicle technologies. Why?
"Fleet vehicles typically accumulate higher annual mileage than private vehicles and generally are replaced sooner," explains Ann Hegnauer, manager of technology transfer for the Dept. of Energy. "And fleets have the centralized facilities and maintenance know-how to adapt more readily to alternative fuels. We believe they will help define the marketplace for alternative-fuel vehicles as they generate the experience necessary to drive the success of this new technology."
The problem is weighing all the pros and cons surrounding the alternative-fuel options -- biodiesel, electric, ethanol, methanol, natural gas, and propane. The Energy Dept. tracks the most recent information on federal regulations and state and local laws, as well as the most up-to-date information on vehicle and fuel available. The National Alternative Fuels Hotline is 800-423-IDOE.
The government is currently evaluating whether B20, a blended biodiesel fuel, will be classified as an official alternative fuel.
Meanwhile, work continues on developing a new fuel specification for a premium grade of diesel fuel, says Roger L. Leisenring of Texaco. The new standard will cover lubricity, stability, and low temperature operability.
Marriages and other new looks Barbour Trucking Co., a specialized truckload carrier with more than 400 units has absorbed Lewie Montgomery Trucking Co. Transit Group, formerly General Parcel Service, has agreed to sell its parcel delivery business to Western Parcel Express, Santa Fe Springs, Calif. At the same time, Transit announced it has acquired Carolina Pacific Distributors.
New resources In a survey of for-hire trucking companies, Transportation Technical Services reports a thin profit margin of 1.45%. The TTS Blue Book of Trucking Companies, which represents data on 1,818 motor carriers, also shows operating expense gains of 7.6% outpaced revenue gains of 7.2%. In addition, revenue per mile declined from $1.84 in 1995 to $1.80 the following year, even as revenue per ton squeaked out a modest 1.5% gain. The average load remained the same and the average length of haul increased from 396 to 410 miles.
Results so far this year are looking better. "We can thank a robust economy in 1997 for reversing many
of the negative pressures seen last year, as carrier improvements are substantial and appear to be holding," says Ron Roth, executive vp. "It would be truly unfortunate if ancillary factors, such as the Teamster strike against UPS, upset the carriers' much-needed opportunity to improve their finances. Copies of the Blue Book are available for $245. For more information call TTS at 1-888-ONLY-TTS.
Coming off the press are the final copies of the fifth edition of Careers in Trucking, a recruiting magazine published by the Truckload Carriers Assn. The guide lists carriers alphabetically by state with the kinds of employees needed. The focus is to recruit potential drivers to combat the driver shortage. For more information, contact the organization at 703-838-1950.
The fourth annual intermodal product and supplier directory has been published by the Intermodal Association of North America. The guide contains 240 industry suppliers and vendors, catalogued under 75 intermodal product and service headings.