Homeland Security is very serious business for Metro Fuel Oil Corp., a large distributor of petroleum products in the New York Metropolitan area. The company recently upgraded its entire commercial delivery fleet to Satellite Security Systems' FleetGuardT communications system, featuring the GlobalGuard application, which enables tanker trucks to be shut down remotely should one of them fall into the hands of terrorists.
Monitoring fleet vehicles closely is not new to Metro Fuel Oil, says Paul Pullo, president. The company had been using another GPS-based vehicle tracking program up until about a year ago, when it switched to Satellite Security System (S3) for its added features and remote engine shutdown capability.
Based in Brooklyn, NY, Metro Fuel Oil Corp. has 42 fuel and oil delivery trucks, as well as a fleet of service vans and trucks, for a total of 75 vehicles. The delivery trucks and tractors are primarily Mack units. Capacity for the tanks on the tractor-trailers is between 7500 and 9000 gallons, while those on the straight trucks is between 4400 and 5500 gallons. Almac aluminum tanks are preferred, Pullo points out, because they are easier to maintain than steel tanks and because they provide extra weight savings.
“We spec heavy-duty components whenever possible,” Pullo notes. “Also, we've switched from spring suspensions to air-ride both for driver comfort and for improved durability. We also do all our own maintenance on the vehicles from one central location.”
Drivers are assigned their own delivery trucks, each of which is equipped with a GPS system from S3. Up-to-the-minute reports tell the company when a truck has reached its destination. Besides tracking and monitoring vehicle whereabouts, the company can also keep records of distances traveled, speeds, etc.
According to Pullo, hauling flammable cargo presents a unique challenge in that added security measures are absolutely necessary. “S3 has the proven track record to deliver the level of security and service we require,” he says.
Metro Fuel Oil Corp. is a full-service heating oil distributor and has its own oil terminal in which it stores oil received by barge and pipeline. The company also wholesales gasoline and oil from its multi-million gallon oil terminal.
The company services industrial and commercial accounts, as well as private residences. It is also a large distributor of gasoline and diesel fuel; customers include large truck and bus fleets and local school districts. “We are the biggest regional distributor of motor fuels in the New York Metro area, with approximately 12,000 customers,” Pullo says.
New York State government agencies and the Federal government, including the Dept. of Defense, are also customers of Metro Fuel Oil Corp. “During the aftermath of 9-11 we supplied diesel fuel to the World Trade Center disaster site. Local officials were pleased to know we had a security system in place to prevent our trucks from being used as terrorists' weapons,” Pullo advises.
Here's how the system works: In the event that a vehicle goes off-course or if dispatch is unable to reach a driver and feels the situation may be serious, they would contact Satellite Security Systems. S3 would in turn work with law enforcement officials to locate the vehicle via the GPS tracking system, and if deemed necessary, remotely shut the vehicle's engine down.
The GPS vehicle tracking and security communications system works hand in hand with other software programs used by Metro Fuel Oil Corp. “We've installed an electronic fuel metering system called Mid-Com that keeps a record of every fleet fueling transaction made,” Pullo relates.The Metro Fuel Oil fleet also uses an electronic dispatching system from Digital Dispatch, which utilizes Nextel phones so information concerning deliveries can be relayed back and forth between drivers and dispatch.
Metro Fuel Oil Corp. is the largest supplier of gasoline in New York City and of diesel fuel in Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island, NY, according to Pullo. The company is a leading marketer of No. 2, 4 and 6 fuel oils and services accounts in Westchester County, NY. It is also a provider of lower-cost natural gas as an alternative fuel to local utilities.