With a $2 trillion GDP, California has the seventh largest economy in the world – the same as Germany’s. Panelists said smart carriers will capture some of that business by finding ways to turn the state’s obsession with all things green into new ways to market their businesses.
Scott Blevins, president and CEO of Mountain Valley Express, for example, looks for ways to turn regulations into positives. “Why not market it and be eco-green, since we have to do it anyway?” he asked. Blevins, whose company offers overnight and second-day service between California, Arizona and Nevada, has found that his customers are willing to pay more to have his company deal with California so they don’t have to.
He adds a clean air surcharge to every bill of lading, a bridge toll fee and has increased his rates 6.9 percent this year. But he’s also made investments: retrofitting a tractor costs $15,000, putting skirts on a trailer is $1,400, and a new tractor can run $125,000.
UPS also has seen great success in getting its customers to pay for its sustainability platform, said Noel Massie, president of UPS Central California District. “There are a lot of customers that wouldn’t use us if we weren’t a green fleet,” he said. Massie’s company runs 2,500 alternative fuel vehicles and has reduced carbon dioxide by nearly 8,000 metric tons.
The panelists agreed that diesel will play a reduced role in their fleets. “Looking out 20 years, I think the fuel for our industry is going to be natural gas,” said Paul Truman, president of Truline Corporation and Estenson Logistics. “The problem is the equipment makers are too slow. They need to build more to gain economies of scale so they can close that price differential, which right now is about $50,000 to $60,000” over diesel-powered trucks, he said.
The Great West Fleet Executive Conference was sponsored by Bridgestone, Chevron and Freightliner Trucks.
— Linda Longton
WTSA US EXPRESS has been shut down by the U.S. Department of Transportation after an audit uncovered violations in hours of service, driver qualifications and drug testing requirements.
SURFACE TRANSPORTATION trade between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement partners reached an all-time high in March, exceeding $85 billion for the first time since data collection began in 1994 and topping the $80.8 billion record set last March.
THE PUBLIC COMMENT period on proposed changes to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Safety Measurement System has been extended to July 30.
O&S files for bankruptcy, seeks Prime affiliation
After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, O&S Trucking asked a court June 5 to grant it the privilege to a business relationship with carrier Prime Inc.
The two Springfield, Mo., companies had reached an agreement before O&S filed its May 30 petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Missouri. The court granted an emergency motion to expedite the hearing to affiliate with the 4,000-truck Prime.
In May, O&S principal Jim O’Neal stepped down during his second term as Springfield mayor after stating business and personal issues required his full attention.