What's your operational cost? ATRI wants to know

Trucking news and briefs for Monday, Feb. 26, 2024:

Carriers asked to participate in ATRI’s annual Operational Costs report

The American Transportation Research Institute on Monday issued a request for motor carriers to participate in ATRI’s annual update to its Operational Costs of Trucking report.

The report is one of the most trusted resources in the industry for benchmarking costs and operations, ATRI said. ATRI collects data confidentially from for-hire motor carriers of all sectors, regions and sizes -- from one-truck owner-operators to 10,000-truck fleets -- to produce insights on key industry trends that guide decision-makers of all kinds.

Cost metrics requested by ATRI include driver pay, insurance premiums and equipment lease or purchase payments. Carriers and owner-operators can submit these costs for the year 2023 on a per-mile or per-hour basis with an easy-to-use online data entry form or an emailed PDF form. Additional questions cover operational metrics such as the percentage of empty miles, dwell time per stop, and driver turnover.

All participating carriers will receive a customized report that compares their fleet’s costs and operations to peer carriers of the same sector and size, as well as an advance copy of the full report. 

[Related: Owner-operator survival strategies, and tactics to thrive, in a down market: Business in spotlight at MATS]

For-hire motor carriers are encouraged to provide operational cost data to ATRI by Friday, April 26. ATRI’s data collection form is available online here, along with a sample customized report and FAQ. All confidential information is protected, and it is published only in anonymized, aggregate form.

In last year’s Operational Costs of Trucking report, based on 2022’s numbers, marginal costs ballooned 21.3% over 2021 to $2.251 per mile, surpassing the $2 per mile mark for the first time in the history of the report.

[Related: Cost of trucking hit record high last year, passes $2/mile for the first time]

Volvo recall hits new VNL, VNR models

Volvo Trucks North America is recalling approximately 45 model year 2024-‘25 VNL and VNR trucks in which the steering gear sector shaft may have been improperly heat-treated, which can cause the gear teeth to crack or fracture.

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A fractured steering gear shaft can cause a loss of steering control, increasing the risk of a crash.

[Related: Quick spin: 'Beginning of a new era' with the revamped VNL]

Affected trucks were built between Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, 2024, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

Dealers will inspect the serial numbers, and replace the steering gears, as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed April 15. Owners can contact Volvo Trucks customer service at 800-528-6586 with recall number RVXX2401. NHTSA’s recall number is 24V-121.

[Related: Recalls from three truck makers]

TA celebrates opening of 300th travel center

TA Walton, KentuckyA new TravelCenters of America location in Walton, Kentucky, is the company's 300th location.TA

TravelCenters of America is celebrating the opening of its 300th travel center with a ribbon cutting ceremony this week at the newly rebuilt TA in Walton, Kentucky.

The new location offers 60 truck parking spaces, KFC and HWY Kitchen restaurants, six diesel lanes, a TA Truck Service Center with four bays, emergency roadside assistance services, six showers and more.

The 300th site opening is a milestone in TA’s strategic network growth plan, which complements BP’s existing convenience and mobility business to offer all guests a seamless nationwide experience, both along the interstate and off, the company said.

“Celebrating this achievement is very exciting for both our team members and guests, and we are committed to continued growth and innovation to provide an outstanding experience for all travelers who visit us,” said Debi Boffa, CEO of TravelCenters of America. “We look forward to welcoming guests into our newly rebuilt Walton, KY travel center, which provides a welcoming, pleasant atmosphere with excellent amenities.” This year, TA plans to open 20 new locations. Other 2024 strategic initiatives include:  

  • Adding 1,600 new truck parking spaces
  • The installation of biodiesel blending infrastructure and BP Pulse EV charging stations at select sites throughout the country
  • Improving guest touchpoints through enhanced store layouts and new benefits to its loyalty program
  • Upgrading TA Truck Service mobile maintenance and emergency roadside assistance vehicles to better serve its fleet customers and professional drivers

Shell Rotella hosting gift card promotion

Shell Rotella is launching its 2024 National Promotion, in which customers who buy certain Shell Rotella products can get up to $40 in digital gift cards.

Rotella customers who purchase qualifying Shell Rotella T4 Triple Protection, Shell Rotella T5 Synthetic Blend, and Shell Rotella T6 Full Synthetic heavy-duty diesel engine oil products at select retailers can qualify for the promotion.

The promotion is ongoing through May 15. After a purchase is made, customers can enter the promotion here.

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