For better or worse, for richer or poorer Penske Truck Leasing has acquired the truck rental and leasing assets of Rent-A-Car Co. of Richmond, Va., a franchise of Avis Rent A Car. In a related move, Penske Logistics has acquired ERX Logistics, LLC, which has been providing services to Whirlpool Corp. using 1,500 drivers, warehouse personnel, and on-site supervisors. The deal makes Penske responsible for operating warehouses, as well as managing the company's dedicated contract carriage and common-carrier segments.
John M. Kane has purchased E.I. Kane Inc., a diversified transportation company founded by his father, Eugene I. Kane. The junior Kane will serve as president and CEO of the company; he was previously president and general manager. The company has five subsidiaries and more than 1,000 employees.
Trimac Transportation has entered into a pooling agreement with four other carriers - Groendyke Transport, Manfredi Motor Transit Co., Miller Transporters, and Superior Carriers Inc. (owner of Superior Carriers and Central Transport) - to form the "Alliance of Bulktruck Carriers." The purpose of the alliance is to maximize asset utilization and loaded miles among the participating carriers through a collaborative effort of load matching and capacity sharing.
U.S. Xpress Enterprises has launched a truck purchase program that will give its drivers the opportunity to become independent contractors. The program will also enable the fleet's independent contractors to update their equipment. According to Max Fuller, co-chairman of U.S. Xpress, "The company designed this to offer hard-working men and women the chance to make the dream of owning your very own tractor a reality." The program is being administered through Freightliner of Chattanooga.
Good news If Bruce Stockton feels more of a draft this winter it's because he lost a bet. But it's a bet he wanted to lose. You see, the vp of safety for CFI issued an unusual challenge to his fleet last year. Trim the fleet's accident-frequency ratio by 10% and he would shave his head. They did and he did. "We have enjoyed a positive trend of fewer and fewer accidents at CFI in the past three years," he said. "Based on that trend, we set a goal to decrease our accident-frequency ratio by 10% in 1998. Promising to shave my head was a way to make it more personal and fun for everyone."
He wasn't kidding. The carrier exceeded its goal by 13%. The ratio is calculated by dividing the number of accidents per million miles by the total number of miles. Although there is no national average, most experts use 1.0% as an upper threshold. Score below that mark and you're okay; score above it and you may attract the attention of regulatory agencies.
CFI has recorded an impressive record since 1996, when it recorded 126 accidents for a 0.81% ratio. The following year, it had 123 accidents and improved to a 0.61% ratio. Last year, in response to the challenge, the fleet lowered the total number of accidents to 103 and recorded a 0.47% ratio.
In another bit of good news, Navistar International Transportation Corp. last year donated three International medium-duty trucks to nonprofit organizations dedicated to getting food and medical supplies to disaster-stricken Honduras and Nicaragua. Organizations receiving the trucks included the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, the Red Cross of Nicaragua, and the Save the Children program of Honduras.
One truck, traveling in a "people-to-people" caravan assembled by IFCO, was driven to Central America by International truck driver Bill Breeden of Bloomington, Ind. Breeden spearheaded the drive that resulted in transporting more than $90,000 in food and supplies donated by the Bloomington community.
The speed of e-commerce The Internet is shifting the balance of power from manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers to customers, according to the head of one of the companies that has benefited the most from the e-commerce revolution. Jim Kelly, chairman and CEO of United Parcel Service said the Internet allows companies to connect directly with their end customers. These customers pull whatever they need out of the system, rather than waitingfor distributors, marketers, and retailers to push the products through the supply chain to them.
A survey of Internet shoppers found that UPS shipped 55% of the $3 billion in goods ordered online during the 1998 holiday season. But despite the opportunity, Kelly says that businesses involved in the supply chain will have to change their thinking and practices in order to harness e-commerce.
"With the pull model," he explains, "you carry less inventory. That means less capital outlay. You get products into the hands of customers faster. That means more cash flow. And since your customers are in control, there's a higher degree of customer satisfaction."
Highway angels On September 17, 1998, Kristopher Peters, a driver for Burlington Motor Carriers, saved the wife of Brian McCockley by performing CPR after she stopped breathing. The McCockley's car had broken down on I-40 outside of Memphis when Peters arrived on the scene.
On October 6, 1998, Ted Horn of Livingston, La., a driver for Dupre' Transport, helped remove a young woman from an overturned vehicle on the entrance ramp to I-110.
On October 9, 1998, Michael Heiller of Pinconning, Mich., a driver for All American Transport, helped a motorist who was stranded after her vehicle ran over an 8-ft.-long 4x4 plank that caused extensive damage to her car about 30 miles outside of Needles on I-40.