Daimler Truck AG
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Five Good Things: Mercedes trucks headed to Ukraine and help for Hawaii

Sept. 8, 2023
When crises occur, the trucking industry helps in big ways: Mercedes is assisting the Ukrainian war effort with 100 Zetro trucks, Linden Logistics sends aid to Maui. Also: Western Star hosts a driver challenge in Oregon.

No matter the hemisphere, trucking is here to help. Here's Five Good Things that happened in trucking this week.

Please pass along good news for our weekly Five Good Things blog by email or through our LinkedInFacebook, or Twitter accounts.

Mercedes-Benz delivers over 100 Zetros trucks to Ukraine

Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks has delivered over 100 off-road Zetros trucks to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, the Daimler Truck AG subsidiary announced. The delivery includes a number of vehicle types for military support and logistics tasks.

Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks is also providing services related to the vehicles to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. Training courses and deployments with the trucks were completed by drivers before delivery of the Zetros. The procurement was funded by the German government’s support initiative, which is overseen and implemented jointly by the German Foreign Office and the German Ministry of Defense.

For several months now, the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior has been using Mercedes-Benz Zetros from previous deliveries for a wide range of disaster relief missions. Relief workers on-site use the trucks to supply the population in difficult-to-reach areas, clear roads, and remove rubble. The vehicles can also support reconstruction efforts.

Lynden Logistics sends aid to Hawaii

In the wake of the Maui wildfires, employees of Lynden Logistics and subsidiary Aloha Marine Lines began fundraising for the impacted communities through the Hawaii Red Cross. The companies pledged to match the first $10,000 in donations. The campaign exceeded that $10,000 goal and has grown to over $35,000 in total contributions

“Like many others, we watched with great sadness as the devastating wildfires spread and impacted thousands of people in Hawaii,” said Chris Palmer, director of the Hawaii trade lane for Lynden. “Luckily, none of our employees or facilities were affected, however, several customers lost retail stores and homes. We knew we had to do something to help.”

See also: How AT&T's fleet rebuilt Hawaii's network

Lynden Air Cargo supported the relief efforts from the air, flying six priority missions in response to the Maui wildfires. Using two Hercules aircraft, two flights originated on the mainland and four shuttles were completed between Oahu and Maui. The planes carried satellite and command center equipment, search and rescue supplies, and mobile cell towers.

“Maui has a weight restriction of 500,000 lb. for the airport, which limits the larger widebody aircraft from operating there,” explained Dan Marshall, senior commercial operations manager for Lynden Air Cargo. “Our Herc was a perfect fit to shuttle the loads delivered to Honolulu from the mainland on the widebody aircraft as well as handling two loads from the mainland.”

Lynden is also partnering with Dole Food Company, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Red Cross to coordinate ocean shipments of food and supplies from Los Angeles to Honolulu.

Western Star celebrates fans with 2023 Star Nation Experience

Winners of the 2023 Star Nation Experience recently came together in Bend, Oregon, for a four-day event organized and hosted by Western Star.

The eight winners visited Daimler’s High Desert Proving Grounds testing facility in Madras, Oregon, touring the facility and competing in a driver challenge featuring Western Star X-Series trucks.

The all-expenses-paid-trip also included a trout fly-fishing excursion, ATV rides, and brand photo shoot.

Details of the 2024 Star Nation Experience will be announced in early 2024.

DMC insurance selects driver of the year

DMC Insurance has selected Charles Smith,  a driver for FirstFleet, as its 2023 Driver of the Year.

Smith received his award during an event held at his home terminal in Cleveland, Tennessee. Lunch and gifts, provided by DMC, were given to the terminal drivers and staff. Representatives from DMC, along with executives and staff from FirstFleet, were on-site to recognize Smith. He received a cash prize of $3,000, a crystal truck trophy detailing the accomplishment, and a DMC Driver of the Year-branded RTIC cooler filled with swag items.

Smith has nearly three million safe driving miles and has been a driver trainer at FirstFleet for 22 years. Before his time at FirstFleet, Smith served 20 years in the U.S. Army, spending most of that time also as a driver trainer. He was selected as a 2023-2024 Tennessee Road Team Captain by the Tennessee Trucking Association to spread the safe driving message.

“Charles has a heart for teaching and a remarkable safety record,”  FirstFleet Director of Safety John Cole said. “He really loves working with people and always has a smile on his face. He was my first choice for the nomination.”

Each of DMC’s insureds was allowed to nominate up to three drivers for the title, and Smith was selected by the company's judging committee, which included both external and internal trucking experts. The judging committee scores nominees based on driving record, service to the community, involvement as a mentor within their company, and areas in which they have displayed leadership efforts in support of the industry.

Kenworth announces semifinalists for military veterans' 2023 Transition Trucking prize

After a record number of nominations, Kenworth, Fastport, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative announced the semi-finalists for the 2023 “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” award.

Launched in 2016 as part of a plan to recognize veterans transitioning into the transportation industry, this year’s program semi-finalists represent each branch of the United States military. The final winner will receive a Kenworth T680 Signature Edition truck.

2023 Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence semifinalists

“Kenworth is honored to again participate in this year’s ‘Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence’ program to recognize the service of distinguished military veterans and encourage the trucking industry to provide career opportunities and support,” Kyle Kimball, Kenworth director of marketing, said.

As part of the eighth annual award program, the semi-finalists will be honored throughout the month, and each will attend a ceremony at the National Veterans Memorial and Museum on Sept. 21 in Columbus, Ohio. The following day will include a tour of the Kenworth Chillicothe manufacturing plant and a ceremony at the MHC Road Ready Center, at which semi-finalists will be recognized and finalists continuing in the program will be announced.

Those select finalists and the ultimate winner will be part of a veteran-focused week that includes a Veteran-Ready Summit on Dec. 15, the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence Award announcement on Dec. 16, Employment Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Statement of Support Signing Ceremony later that afternoon, and Wreaths Across America on Dec. 17.

A public vote will take place online from Nov. 1 to Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11. This voting is an important determiner for the award’s Selection Committee, which makes the ultimate choice for the next Transition Trucking award winner.

About the Author

Scott Keith

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