Blogs

Building permits among leading indicators

Today’s report on the Leading Economic Indicators is good news. It “increased sharply for the second consecutive month in May,” says The Conference Board. The strong points include some fiscal things, like interest rates and stock prices, but the positive freight-related items were building permits and, more indirectly, vendor performance and consumer expectations. “The index rose 1.2 percent (a 2.4 percent annual rate) between November 2008 and May 2009, the first time the index has increased over ...

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Truck fleet combats high diesel prices

In case you needed a reminder as diesel prices inch upward, at the the Northeast Pennsylvania Logistics amp; Transportation Industry Partnership's Go-Green Seminar today (held at Sands Spring Country Club in the town of Drums) Marketing VP Gerry Coyle for the intermodal, LTL and flatbed truckload carrier companies of the Evans Network offered further evidence of results obtained from basic operational and equipment improvements, some common among fleets and others recommended by the U.S. SmartWay ...

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Traffic blows up

Mathematicians at MIT have built a model to describe "how and under what conditions" so-called "phantom traffic jams," those without any obvious cause like a wreck or disabled vehicle, form on the roadways. An article about the research into "jamitons," as the researchers dub traffic jams of this type , appeared at the MIT news site here after the researchers reported findings in the Physical Review E online."Key to the new study is the realization ...

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Border backups

A recent report in the Maktoob Transport Business journal noted a huge hold-up for truckers driving into Saudi Arabia from the United Arab Emirates as Saudi officials reportedly began fingerprinting all drivers coming into the country, allegedly part of ongoing Saudi efforts to stem drug-trafficking.It was interesting in light of ongoing congestion issues on the U.S. southern border (northbound trucks pictured on the Laredo World Trade Bridge) recently highlighted in a conversation I had with ...

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A great guy still going

Overdrive Trucker of the Year for 2005, Ted Chapman (pictured), made it into print again -- this time for his adoration of the Peterbilt trucks he has driven in his more than 7 million accident-free miles and 50 of the 70 years the company has been in business.Chapman, along with owner-operators Ronald Colvin, Steve Cudeck and Anthony Goolesby, are featured in the summer issue of the company's newsletter, "First Class," celebrating the truck maker's 70th ...

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In memory of an ice road trucker

Those of you who caught the first episode of this season’s “Ice Road Truckers” might recall a part on how some of the truckers who’ve died on Alaska’s Dalton Highway have been memorialized at the Hilltop Truckstop. The Hilltop is between Fairbanks and the start of the Dalton, also known as the Haul Road, which runs up to Prudhoe Bay. As an example of the tributes, the program showed one on the wall for Dale Harris. ...

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N.H. ‘truck museum’ puts classics up for auction

Heavy-equipment operator Richard Kemp of Hillsborough, N.H., passed away in September of 2007 at age 76, but his informal truck museum, with a collection of seveal vintage Macks, Internationals, Sterlings and other trucks and pieces of equipment, lived on past his death as a stopping point for collectors and part-time truck and vintage equipment enthusiasts in the northeast and beyond long after he died. A May 18 story in the New Hampshire Union-Leader detailed the ...

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‘Our trucks can move a ton of freight…’

You've heard the ads, running typically something like this: "our trains can move a ton of freight 436 miles on just a single gallon of fuel," as goes a frequent one aired on National Public Radio by CSX. I've tried to reverse-engineer what I've guessed to be the logic in the underlying calculation here and came up with one for trucking companies: if a typical sleeper truck at around 26,000 lbs. can move 27 tons of ...

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Prices: Down for truckload, up for diesel

If you’re thinking of getting your own authority for truckload hauling, think again. Or have some excellent contracts locked up before you jump. A June 8 conference call, hosted by Dahlman Rose & Co. with executives from five carriers (Cowan Systems, Fenway Partners, First Express and Roehl Transport), had little good news. “There was universal agreement that we are experiencing one of the worst pricing marketing in truckload history,” says Dahlman’s summary of the conference. The pressure ...

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NASCAR = Medieval Joust?

I've heard the old "modern day gladiator" description of a NASCAR driver, a comparison that calls up ancient Rome, but Wall Street Journal writer Amy Chozick in May called attention to Northern Michigan University prof Karyn Rybacki's essay in the book The Sporting World of the Modern South in which she makes a perhaps more valid comparison between NASCAR and medieval joust, "a sport that involves two opponents trying to unhorse each other with a ...

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