EXPECT FEWER COMPONENT CHOICES, TRUCK MAKERS SAY
The cost of producing trucks with engines that meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s tough emissions goals is forcing truck makers to partner with fewer suppliers, the leaders of four truck makers said during a panel discussion at the Truckload Carriers Association convention in Las Vegas in March.
For example, International will no longer offer engines from Detroit Diesel, which is owned by Daimler Chrysler, said Steve Keate, president of International’s Truck & Engine Group. Freightliner, also owned by Daimler Chrysler, has “not yet completely decided to offer Cummins [as of October] and will have to decide if we’ll offer Cummins in 2003,” said Rainer Schmueckle, Freightliner president and CEO. Schmueckle said Freightliner spent $50 million to integrate the new engines into its trucks.
Beyond cost considerations, truck makers say working with fewer suppliers will help them supply customers with better products. “If we don’t work together on vertical integration starting with the engine, we are never going to be able to supply you with the efficient truck you are enjoying today,” Volvo Truck President and CEO Michel Gigou said. “You can’t produce an efficient product just by bolting things together.”
Meeting the 2007 emissions standards will require still more vertical integration, panelists said. “You won’t have the same right to choose that you’ve enjoyed,” Gigou said. He advised truckers to “trust in your chosen supplier to work on your behalf to define and engineer the best product for your business.”
Schmueckle expressed concern that truck makers were not part of the agreement between the EPA and engine makers. “If the way the consent decree was implemented becomes the pattern, it’s frankly a pretty messed-up example of how we should not be doing business,” he said.
Despite estimates that the new engines available in October may cost up to $5,000 more than current models and may suffer up to a 5 percent loss in fuel economy, panelists did not predict a buying spree for new trucks before Oct. 1. “We don’t think there will be a pre-buy, but we do think there will be a shift in demand from early ’03 to late ’02,” Gigou said.
“We’ve seen our order boards fill up from October backward, but not significantly,” said Paul Vikner, president and CEO of Mack Trucks. “It would be very difficult for us to produce lots of trucks in one quarter and then none the next.”
Tight credit and the continuing oversupply of used trucks will prevent carriers from pre-buying, Keate said. On the positive side, he pointed to a stabilization of used truck prices in the past six months, with some slight increases in value. Panelists agreed the used truck situation will take about two years to improve significantly.
Peterbilt and Kenworth officials did not participate because of a scheduling conflict.
– Linda Longton
PETRO GETTING PARKING-SPACE POWER UNITS
Truckers who park at Petro Stopping Centers nationwide will eventually be able to avoid idling by hooking their cabs to power units provided by IdleAire Technologies of Knoxville, Tenn., in a deal announced at the 2002 NATSO Show in Nashville.
Via a hose connected to an overhead truss above each parking space, the system provides heat, air conditioning and electricity, allowing drivers to turn off truck engines while they rest. Controlled from a keypad and LCD screen, the basic service also includes a local telephone line, cable television and Internet access with e-mail.
The price for truckers will be $1.50 per hour, or $1.25 per hour with a fleet discount, says Tom Badgett, IdleAire’s chief operating officer. On average, idling uses a gallon of diesel an hour.
IdleAire tested the technology with prototype units on the New York Thruway and at the Hunts Point Distribution Center in Bronx, N.Y., which had smaller screens than the new model to be completed in May, Badgett says. While Petro will be the first truck stop chain to offer the service, “We’re talking to all the major chains” as well as fleets, Badgett says.
Petro has 56 locations and more than 14,000 truck parking spaces in 38 states. IdleAire hopes to eventually install its devices in half those spaces. The first units will be operational this summer, the first in Knoxville, Tenn., then Atlanta and West Memphis, Ark. IdleAire will pay the cost of installation, about $8,000 per parking space – a figure IdleAire expects to go down.
Three TravelCenters of America locations in Texas – Baytown, San Antonio and the new Dallas South location – will test IdleAire devices this year, says TA’s Michael O’Connor.
IdleAire would prefer to install its units at all the truck stops at a given exit at once, “because otherwise it wouldn’t be fair,” Badgett says. Truckers’ driving patterns will also be taken into account in picking locations. “It would be less convenient if we had a service in Knoxville, for example, but then not another one until Los Angeles,” Badgett says.
For more information, visit www.idleaire.com.
– Andy Duncan and Randy Grider
TRACY BYRD TO PERFORM AT GATS
Country singer Tracy Byrd will perform a free opening-night concert Friday, Sept. 6, for registered attendees of the Great American Trucking Show at the Dallas Convention Center.
Byrd, known for songs such as “Keeper of the Stars” and “The Watermelon Crawl,” is touring to support his new album, Ten Rounds, which includes the single “Just Let Me Be in Love.” His concert is sponsored by Volvo Trucks North America.
GATS registration is free until Aug. 30. For more information, call (888) 349-4287 or visit www.gatsonline.com.
– Andy Duncan
SECOND SATELLITE RADIO NETWORK LAUNCHES
Sirius Satellite Radio began service on Valentine’s Day in four cities: Denver, Houston, Phoenix and Jackson, Miss. Sirius says other markets are being added, with nationwide coverage in the third quarter.
Rival service XM Satellite Radio launched nationwide in November, was named Product of the Year by Fortune magazine, and signed up more than 30,000 subscribers its first two months, many of them truckers.
Sirius and XM offer 100 channels of programming, including a truckers’ channel, for a monthly fee plus the cost of a receiver. Sirius charges $12.95 a month, XM $9.99. All 60 music channels on Sirius are commercial-free, as are about half of XM’s 71 music channels. For more information, visit www.siriusradio.com and www.xmradio.com.
– Andy Duncan
LOGS TAKE LONGER THAN TWO MINUTES, FEDS CONCEDE
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration increased from 2 minutes to 6 minutes its estimate of the time a driver needs to fill out his log book each day.
According to a notice and request for comment published in the Jan. 10 Federal Register, regulators raised their estimates based on comments from the American Trucking Associations and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.
The new estimates remain way off the mark, OOIDA said in new comments filed Feb. 11. OOIDA said its members take an average of 15 minutes a day to fill out their daily record of duty status.
In its notice, the FMCSA acknowledged “some drivers in some segments” may take as long as 15 minutes, but said 6/ minutes represented a “more reasonable industry-wide average.”
The agency also raised its estimate of the amount of time required for trucking companies to process driver logs, from 90 seconds a day per driver to 3 minutes a day per driver. ATA and OOIDA say it’s more like 9 to 10 minutes per driver.
– Jim Beach
ATA, TCA AIM FOR CLOSER TIES
The Truckload Carriers Association board of directors unanimously agreed to work with the American Trucking Associations toward re-establishing a closer relationship.
The March 3 vote, taken during a closed meeting at TCA’s annual meeting in Las Vegas, is a sharp reversal from the bitter fight two years ago when TCA membership rejected integration into ATA by just seven votes.
The vote followed a presentation to the board by ATA Chairman David McCorkle, head of McCorkle Truck Lines in Oklahoma City and a TCA member.
A mid-February meeting between the elected and staff leaders of the two organizations resulted in an agreement to appoint a task force to explore options and identify issues for resolution. Pat Quinn, TCA chairman and co-chairman of U.S. Xpress in Chattanooga, Tenn., said he hopes this group can complete its work by June.
The discussions definitely would not lead to a merger of the two organizations, Quinn said, but could lead to anything short of that. TCA leaders say that regardless of what happens, the two associations’ primary missions will remain complementary, with ATA continuing to focus on lobbying and advocacy and TCA continuing to focus on education and training.
– Avery Vise
VETERAN CRETE DRIVER WINS TOP AWARD
Don Burianek of Wilber, Neb., for 19 years a driver for Crete Carrier of Lincoln, Neb., was named the 2001 Company Equipment Driver of the Year by the Truckload Carriers Association and Truckers News magazine.
The announcement was made March 5 at the TCA convention in Las Vegas.
Burianek, 60, didn’t start over-the-road trucking until age 38, but he first climbed behind the wheel of a work truck on his father’s 80-acre Nebraska farm when he was 6.
“I’ve been driving since my feet could reach the pedals,” Burianek says. “We had an old 1928 Chevy truck with wooden spokes. I started driving trucks around the farm and delivered grain to town when I was a little older.”
Burianek has 2.1 million safe driving miles. In 2001, he logged 140,000 miles and grossed $54,000 along his dedicated route, hauling fluorescent lighting ballast materials for Advance Transformers from Monroe, Wis., to El Paso, Texas, and then east. Burianek and his wife of 25 years, Diana, have five children and six grandchildren.
“Don Burianek represents all that is good in the trucking industry,” says Crete President and CEO Tonn Ostergard. “His commitment to safety, customer service and professionalism are second to none.”
As Company Equipment Driver of the Year, Burianek will receive:
This year’s finalists, who also won thousands of dollars in prizes, were Robert “Dwight” Spurlock of Arnold Transportation, second place; Arthur Rhoades of Arnold Transportation, third; Wilbur Farver of D.M. Bowman, fourth; and Walter Spiesshoefer of USA Truck, fifth.
– Randy Grider
Are you a truck-cab gourmet? If so, Truckers News may spotlight your recipes in an upcoming cookbook. The recipes must require no more appliances and utensils than you can carry inside the cab of a truck. To be considered, send your recipes to Jeff Mercurio, Truckers News, 3200 Rice Mine Road N.E., Tuscaloosa AL 35406, or e-mail them to email@example.com.
IS DIESEL IN YOUR FAMILY’S BLOOD?
Truckers News is looking for the Great American Trucking Family: third-, fourth- and fifth-generation truckers, as well as truckers whose spouses, children and other relatives are in trucking, too. The winner will be announced at the Great American Trucking Show, Sept. 6-8 in Dallas. Entry deadline is June 1. For an application, visit www.truckersnews.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
S.C. RESTRICTS TRUCKS TO RIGHT-HAND LANES IN URBAN AREAS
On about 100 miles of congested South Carolina interstate, tractor-trailers are now limited to the two right-hand lanes, the state Department of Transportation announced.
The restriction is in effect wherever the interstate is six or more lanes wide, or three in each direction – in other words, around Charleston, Columbia, Greenville-Spartanburg and the approaches to Charlotte, N.C.
South Carolina officials say restricted lanes are safer because they keep trucks from changing lanes and enable automobiles to maintain a constant speed. Agreeing with this assessment is Bob Lee, division administrator for the Federal Highway Administration, who was on hand for the announcement.
J. Richards Todd, president of the South Carolina Trucking Association, says truck-only lanes can cause increased tailgating and “more erratic and impatient automobile driver behavior around our vehicles” – especially when four-wheelers have to enter and exit the interstate through truck lanes.
“We will hold our noses and go along with the restrictions, but we are concerned about limiting a professional truck driver’s options,” Todd says.
The state’s neighbors, North Carolina and Georgia, have similar restrictions in place.
– Andy Duncan
TRUCKER SHOT TO DEATH AT I-65 EXIT
A trucker was shot to death beside his cab before dawn Feb. 25, minutes after he exited I-20 near Talladega, Ala.
Roy H. Galloway of Inman, S.C., drove team with his wife, Alma, who says her husband woke her as he pulled off the highway to switch drivers about 4 a.m. at Exit 179 near Coldwater, about 100 miles west of Atlanta. “They pulled into a temporary rest area some of the truckers use,” says Jerry Studdard, Talladega County sheriff.
Alma Galloway says that while she was on the passenger side of the truck doing a pretrip inspection a car pulled up on the other side, and then her husband yelled, “Run. I’ve been shot.” She ran through the woods to a trucking company, where a security guard called police, Studdard says.
Police believe Galloway was a robbery victim, as his wallet, minus cash, was found in the vicinity.
– Sean Kelley
Recent $1,000 winners in the weekly Money for Miles Sweepstakes at eTrucker.com include Charlie Crumpler of Montgomery, Ala.; Jerry Newingham of Woodson, Ill.; Daniel L. Wiita of Birmingham, Ala.; Dave Winchester of North Port, Fla.; and Elizabeth Zika of Concord, N.C. Each week through May, one registered user of the site will win $1,000.
Kenworth was named best tractor on the road by 34 percent of Atlas Van Lines drivers in the company’s latest driver survey. For complete results, visit www.atlasvanlines.com.
Firestone is giving away “Ship By Truck” window decals at truck stops nationwide. The logo is an update of one devised by Harvey S. Firestone in 1918.
Johnson & Towers, Detroit Diesel distributor since 1926, opened a 10-bay service center in Egg Harbor Township, N.J. The center also services Allison transmissions.
The Old Lehigh Valley Transit building in Allentown, Pa., won’t be the site of the America on Wheels museum after all, because renovating it would cost too much. Instead, a new building will house the collection of old Mack trucks and antique vehicles.
Great Dane Trailers bought Strick Trailer’s plants in Danville, Pa., and Abbeville, S.C., and launched an illustrated parts database for dealers and authorized distributors.
Love’s Travel Stops opened its first Virginia location at Exit 84 from I-81 in Wytheville. It includes a CAT Scale, an ATM, a Subway and a Taco Bell.
Transcraft added five more dealers to its network. A complete list is at www.transcraft.com.
Pilot now offers a MasterCard Fleet Program for owner-operators and small fleets. The card entitles the user to the cash diesel price at all Pilot locations and can be earmarked for certain amounts, locations or purchases – fuel only, for example. The card offers online access to accounts, no transaction fees, monthly billing and a 25-day grace period. For more information, visit www.pilottravelcenters.com.
Arvinmeritor has a new process for ordering product literature at www.arvinmeritor.com. Click on “Truck and Trailer Products” and then “Tech Library.”
Power Service Products, which makes diesel fuel additives, has a new site at www.powerservice.com.
Freightliner has a new-truck locator at www.freightlinertrucks.com. Users can specify criteria such as models, engine makes and cab configurations.
Thermo King redesigned its website at www.thermoking.com.
Willgo has a New Trailer Quoter for flatbed and dry-van buyers, with reefer information to come, at www.willgo.com.