New looks J.H. Walker Trucking of Houston has more than doubled its size with its purchase of Patterson Truck Lines, an oil field carrier out of Houma, La. U.S. Xpress Enterprises will buy PST Vans of Salt Lake City for $12.5 million in cash and 1.1-million shares of U.S. Xpress. According to U.S. Xpress co-chairman Patrick Quinn, the acquisition will increase lane densities, expand the customer base, and increase the number of teams and owner-operators. Assuming the deal goes through, U.S. Xpress will add PST's fleet of 1,130 tractors (750 company-owned and 380 owner-operators) and 2,500 trailers, bringing its fleet up to approximately 4,400 tractors and 9,400 trailers, all 53-footers.
Penske Logistics has announced a joint venture with Cotia Trading S.A. to provide supply-chain management services in South America. The new enterprise, Cotia-Penske Logistics Ltda., will be based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Cotia operates warehouses, port terminals, and transportation and distribution facilities. In a related development, the company has been named lead logistics provider for Ford in Mexico.
Penske Truck Leasing is set to provide contract maintenance to the City of New Orleans for its fleet of 370 buses. Penske will be responsible for government compliance in areas of vehicle maintenance records, waste-fluids disposal, technician training, and safety programs for bus drivers.
Under a ruling by the Surface Transportation Board, Amtrak can now offer expedited package express operations over the routes it serves. Builders Transport has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, providing court protection from creditors while it develops a plan for reorganization. As part of its conversion from 48- to 53-ft. trailers, KLLM Transport Services has turned to Carrier Transicold for 1,800 of the company's newly introduced Ultima 53 refrigeration units.
Intermodal activity After closing 1997 on a positive note, with increased loads and revenues, intermodal marketing companies (IMCs) continued to post strong results in the first quarter of 1998, according to the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA). Total loads handled by IMCs were up 7.8% from the first quarter of 1997; over the same period, IMCs posted a 9.5% increase in total revenues. The activity mirrored an ongoing trend for IMCs -- an increasing share of their revenue base was derived from highway truck loads. In fact, in the first quarter of 1998, revenue from highway moves climbed 14.4% over the same quarter in 1997. And IMCs continued to branch into other value-added services such as spotting and warehousing.
IANA also announced the start of a six-month pilot intermodal equipment maintenance and best-practices program to ensure that intermodal equipment is roadworthy and meets the loading and service requirements of intermodal customers.
Driving home the message As part of their commitment to Trucker Buddy, Wayne and Linda Smock, independent contractors for Prime Inc., paid their second visit to Amy Jeffers' third-grade class at West Central Elementary School in Joplin, Mo. During their first visit to the school, the Smocks met the students and invited them to explore the inside of the truck. The next visit included a tour of the Prime terminal. The husband-and-wife driver team wrote to the class throughout the school year from their many destinations. The postcards from around the country, as well as the letters the kids wrote to the Smocks, enable Jeffers to make geography and English part of the Trucker Buddy experience.
Tax and shippers' guides The 1998-99 edition of the Directory of Shippers, expanded to include key information on 18,000 top logistics executives, is now available from Transportation Technical Services (TTS). The directory, which includes more than 15,000 high-volume shippers, provides names and titles of decision makers, phone and fax numbers, as well as the Standard Industrial Classifications down to the four-digit level. The 1,159-page hard copy is $179. A CD-ROM or data on disk version is available for $495. For more information, write to TTS at 500 Lafayette Blvd., Fredericksburg, Va. 22401, or call toll-free at 888-665-9887.
The Truck Renting and Leasing Assn. has released a state tax guide for motor carriers. Contact John Lynch at 703-299-9120.
The 1997 Driver Compensation Study, an in-depth examination of driver pay and incentives, is now available for $300 from the American Trucking Assns. Call 800-282-5463 for more information.