Get used to it... When it comes to selecting used equipment, buyers are concerned with vehicle condition, maintenance history, engine make, power output, and finally price -- in that order. Next came cab style, mileage, transmission make, warranty, transmission speeds, rear-axle make, seller's reputation, previous owner, nameplate, and color. Those were among the findings of a survey conducted for the Used Truck Assn. by Crump & Assoc. And they want to deal with sales personnel who are honest, knowledgeable, personable, and low pressure. The trade association has also produced a code of ethics for its members.
For better or worse....for richer or poorer Arkansas Best Corp. has agreed to sell Cardinal Freight Carriers, the irregular route truckload sister carrier based in Concord, N.C. Arkansas Best acquired Cardinal two years ago when it bought WorldWay Corp., the parent company of Carolina Freight Carriers. The sale, to a company organized by Golder, Thoma, Cressey, Rauner Inc., was valued at $38 million. The net proceeds from the sale will be used to pay down debt, said Robert A. Young, president of Arkansas Best.
In a bid to boost its presence in the East, Overnite Express, St. Paul, Minn., expanded its dry-van truckload business with the acquisition of TPL Freightways of Winston-Salem, N.C. TPL had annual revenues of about $5 million and the combined businesses will generate revenues of about $39 million in 1997, according to President Robert Elsholtz. Both companies use owner-operators.
AmeriTruck Distribution Corp., Fort Worth, continues its acquisition binge with the purchase of Trans-Star Inc. of Waupaca, Wis., from Allways Services, a Nashville-based holding company. The addition of Trans-Star's fleet of 600 over-the-road tractors and 900 temperature-controlled trailers will allow AmeriTruck to reorganize into three operating groups offering temperature-controlled, specialized-hauling, and regional less-than-truckload services. Proline Carriers, the dry-van truckload carrier, remains in the Allways fold.
Also shopping were industry veterans Leonard Young, Bob Soto, and Brad McCall. They picked up Keystone Trucking Service, an intrastate carrier based in Adelanto, Calif. Young is the owner of Phoenix-PDQ, a trucking company based in Southern California that hauls ocean and rail containers throughout California, Nevada, and Arizona. He will serve as chief executive officer of Keystone. Soto, most recently director of operations with Complete Logistics Co. and former president of California Motor Express, will serve as president. McCall, most recently president and chief executive officer of Merchants of California, a regional less-than-truckload carrier, will serve as executive vice president.
Instead of buying, TMC Transportation, the privately held flatbed carrier based in Des Moines, built it themselves. The company has created a new regional carrier, Shamrock Transportation. Based in Indianapolis, the new division will service the shorthaul transportation needs of TMC's customers.
Not so lucky was the largest less-than-truckload freight carrier in Canada. Interlink Freight Systems has closed its doors after years of weak financial returns and the loss this spring of crossborder freight previously exchanged with Viking Freight. Interlink operated 37 terminals throughout Canada and employed about 2,000 people. It had annual revenues of about $150 million (Canadian).
And finally, J.B. Hunt has agreed to sell its flatbed division to existing management. The transaction carriers a $40-million price tag.
A rose by any other name ATA's National Committee for Motor Fleet Supervisor Training and Certification has changed its name to the North American Transportation Management Institute. All safety and compliance training, as well as certification courses, offered through the Safety Management Council and the ATA Training Institute will be offered under the NATMI umbrella.
Web sightings The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History will feature Roadway Express Online as part of the museum's permanent research collection. The Akron, Ohio-based motor carrier is being honored for its innovative use of information technology on the company's Web site: www.roadway.com. The site features instant rate quotes and real-time shipment tracking.
Across town, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has opened its Web site, listing vehicle safety inspection information and procedures. It can be accessed at http://cvsa.org.
Speaking about interactive information, Transportation Information Marketing and Management Communications has started the rollout of its new communications kiosks for truck drivers and travelers. Dubbed Driver Net, the system debuts at 19 truck stops, with 50 more scheduled for installation this summer. Driver Net is a touch-screen computerized kiosk from which drivers can retrieve free information on truck stop promotions, employment opportunities, local and national entertainment, points of interest, and other systems. The system can also be used to send and retrieve e-mail or make certain phone calls. The company's goal is to deliver 400-600 kiosks over the next 12 months.
TIP (Transport International Pool) is offering its national account customers specifications for TIP trailers in their fleets via the Internet. Drivers can also have vehicle registrations faxed to them at different locations using this new secured interactive capability. TIP's home page can be accessed at trailers.ge.com.
Stock offering Consolidated Freightways has announced that all full-time employees will be granted shares of its restricted common stock in what the company calls an "unprecedented" stock distribution plan. The program, which is hailed by Teamster president Ron Carey, will award -- at no cost -- an estimated one-million shares of common stock to the more than 21,500 regular, full-time employees. This accounts for 4.5% of the outstanding shares of the company and carries a market value of $15.5 million.
Professional Transportation Group has become the first trucking operation to go public this year. The company operates a truckload carrier (Timely Transportation), a freight broker (Truck-Net Inc.), and an Atlanta-based local delivery service (Rapid Transit). Professional Transportation Group sold 1.25 million shares of stock at $6 per share June 19 and an equal number of warrants for 12.5> per warrant in an offering underwritten by Atlanta-based Argent Securities. The stock began trading on the NASDAQ Small Cap Market June 20 under the symbol TRUC.
Passing fancy HELP Inc. (Heavy Vehicle Electronic License Plate) has announced an agreement to install the PrePass weigh-station bypass service at six sites in Colorado and the addition of two more inspection stations in California.
Colorado becomes the fifth state to offer the service and plans to equip a total of 14 sites with the technology. For starters it will offer PrePass at Dumont westbound on I-70 and Trinidad northbound on I-25 this month. Within the year, the state will equip stations at Fort Collins and Monument, north and southbound on I-25.
The new California sites, both located on heavily traveled I-80 in Cordelia, give carriers the convenience of bypassing two of the state's busiest inspection facilities. This brings to 14 the number of facilities in the state equipped with the intelligent transportation system that weighs trucks at highway speeds and checks their state-required credentials.
Let your fingers do the driving KLLM Transport Services has become the latest motor carrier to join the 1-800-DRIVERS interactive job line. This service allows drivers to locate available jobs by region, type of job, and type of equipment.
Prospective drivers can learn about a company's pay plan, hiring requirements, and available routes. Applicants can then transfer directly to the recruiting center. The service also boasts a Web site: rwa.metronetworks.com/800drivers/html.
The major function of the hot line is to attract new drivers to the industry, thus ensuring that the demand for drivers will be met in the future.