News from the fleets

Heritage Transport driver named nation’s best
Dennis Shirar, a Heritage Transport company driver of Indianapolis, Ind., was named the 2008 National Truck Driving Grand Champion in the American Trucking Associations’ championships in Houston Aug. 22. Shirar outscored 375 other truckers in driving skills and knowledge of transportation and truck safety. He has logged more than 3 million miles and driven for 30 years free of accidents or injuries. Surprise, Ariz., resident Robert Romando, a three-axle driver for FedEx National was named 2008 Rookie of the Year. Other winners by class are Victor Wheeler, Bountiful, Utah, Roadway, three-axle; Ryan Kelley, Nora Springs, Iowa, FedEx Freight, four axle; Buner Evans, Bremen, Ga., USF Holland, five-axle; Karl Bohrer, Katy, Texas, Wal-Mart, five-axle sleeper; Chris Mahony, Kearns, Utah, FedEx Freight, twins; Ben Moore Jr., Americus, Ga., Walt-Mart, flatbed; and John Smith Jr., Mooreville, Miss., FedEx Ground, tank truck.

Marten Transport named July Drivers of the Month. Drivers include: John Brantley, Brett C. Brayton, Don Clark, Mike DeWitt, Mark Dickerson, James Durham, John Dye, Clinton Foley, Frank Fowler, Gary Goble, Cary Goble, Dan Hess, Terry Holland, Paul Hunt, Gerald Kidby, Kip Kridler, Walter Koering, Kevin Lewis, Robert Long, Robert Miller, Aydrus Mohamad, Lois and Robert O’Daniel, Jeff Panchot, Richard Pressel, Shawn Putnam, Bob Sayre, David Serr, Robert Stevens, Cory Stroud, Sam Timmins, Robert Wilson, Sharon Woods and James Wooten. . . Schneider National was named 2008 Carrier of the Year for Georgia-Pacific LLC. The award is offered to carriers who haul at least 2,000 loads annually for the paper, packaging and wood products company.

All for-hire fleets with 10 trucks or more may enter the inaugural Best Fleets to Drive For Contest, announced The Truckload Carriers Association and CarriersEdge in August. Winners will be announced at TCA’s annual meeting in March. To be considered, fleets must be nominated by at least one of their drivers. Fleets will be evaluated on practices such as driver compensation, pension and benefits, professional development, driver and community support and safety record.

Celadon Group Inc. will assist in the wind-down of operations at Priority Transportation, says Andy Howley, Priority’s chief executive officer. According to Celadon’s Aug. 2 announcement, the company will not purchase any of Priority’s assets but will help continue customer service as the trucking fleet phases out most of its over-the-road operations.

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Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. has moved its Midsouth region service center from Thomasville, N.C., to Waynesboro, Va. The new, 30-door facility is on seven acres less than a mile off of I-64 at 40 Westbrook Court, Fishersville, Va. . . . Plycon, a fine furniture transportation provider based in Kings Park, N.Y., recently started a new division, Plycar, which insures its transportation of luxury and exotic automobiles, such as Bentleys, Maseratis, Ferraris, Lamborginis, Calloways, classic cars and antiques. . . Less-than-truckload carrier YRC Worldwide said it closed a previously announced deal to buy Chinese LTL firm Shanghai Jiayu Logistics.YRC bought 65 percent of the Chinese firm’s stock for $44.7 million and will buy the remaining 35 percent in 2010 for up to $39 million. Shanghai Jiayu Logistics is one of China’s largest LTL companies, with more than 1,800 employees, 30,000 customers and more than 3,000 vehicles.