Piece of a Puzzle
Paramount Freight Systems jumps into the small carrier scene in award-winning fashion
By James Jaillet
A trucking company with no trucks is an apt description of the former intermediary, now nearly completely independent-contractor Paramount Freight Systems.
Its situation hasn’t held it back, though, and the all-owner-operator model has allowed it to make bids and acquire new customers, says company director Trent Dye, who’s been developing the small carrier since its 2008 start.
Its structure also hasn’t stopped the firm from meeting driver needs and expectations — the Truckload Carriers Association named Paramount the Best Fleet to Drive For in the owner-operator category.
R+L Carriers spawned Paramount as a means to run terminal to terminal, Dye says, but the upstart grew, started looking for teams and eventually “just splintered off and started finding our own customers,” he says.
“There was a niche for us with some other customers and with their needs,” Dye says, referring to full truckload needs rather than R+L’s less-than-truckload freight.
Paramount has 90 tractors leased to it and more than 130 operators, 38 of which run team. All of its drivers are double hazmat certified and the carrier pulls many hazmat loads, Dye says. The carrier hauls mostly dry freight and an occasional load of refrigerated goods in the U.S. and into Ontario and Quebec in Canada.
“We started small,” Dye says. “We had a small office in Bloomington, Ohio, where R+L is based, and we started running ads and billboards for owner-operators. Now we’ve got over 20 office employees and over 130 drivers.”
Dye says the company’s owner-operator model has allowed it to win business with companies such as Coke, UPS and Tropicana. “Our customers usually only require a power unit, and that’s what we provide,” he says. “We can take these bids and recruit quickly in different regions around the country.”
They still tie in to R+L network freight, too, helping it secure return loads on one-way hauls. “It’s been a fun puzzle to put together,” Dye says.
Paramount solo drivers average about 2,800 miles per week, Dye says, and teams drive about 6,000. “For 98 percent of them, it’s a Monday through Friday type operation,” he says. “They get paid on all miles, not just miles with a load, and a fuel surcharge that’s close to the national average each week.”
Drivers have access to Paramount’s terminals, but also the R+L terminals, some of which have cafeterias and all of which have sleeping rooms, showers, washers and dryers, Internet access and TVs.
The carrier has its headquarters and a terminal in Jeffersonville, Ohio, as well as terminals in Dade City, Fla.; Fort Meyers, Fla.; and Denver.
Paramount Freight Systems
Location: Jeffersonville, Ohio
Primary freight: Dry goods
Number of drivers: 130+
Number of trucks: 90
Areas of operation: U.S.; eastern Canada
TCA names latest Highway Angel
The Truckload Carriers Association named Gyslain “Juice” Lemelin, a driver for N. Yanke Transfer of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, its latest Highway Angel.
On Oct. 23, 2011, Lemelin was heading west on the Trans-Canada Highway outside of Virden, Manitoba, Canada, when two people and their two dogs passed him in their pickup truck. They were on their way home from a wedding and were towing a camper filled with belongings.
Lemelin says he smelled burning transmission fluid coming from the truck. By the time he pulled over, flames had spread all over the pickup’s hood, the battery was melting, and the ground underneath the vehicle was on fire. Lemelin used his fire extinguisher to put out the flames while the couple removed their dogs and valuables from the vehicle. When the fire was out, he let the couple use his cell phone to call for assistance.
Southeastern Freight Lines earns award
Southeastern Freight Lines, a provider of regional less-than-truckload transportation services, was recognized as an LTL Carrier of the Year by Schneider Logistics Inc. for the second consecutive year. Southeastern was one of 16 carriers to earn this award for 2011.
Schneider Logistics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Schneider National Inc., has contract relationships with more than 11,000 transportation providers including Southeastern Freight Lines.
Criteria to determine award winners include carrier scorecards (service, communication and claims), multiple account support, overall volume and safety.
Maverick announces 350-unit truck order
Maverick Transportation LLC recently announced that it is taking delivery on 350 new trucks beginning in the first quarter of this year. The new equipment will be 2012 and 2013 Freightliner Cascadias equipped with electronic onboard recorders, auxiliary power units and the latest in safety technology, including collision avoidance and roll stability control. Trucks will also contain the latest Daimler engine technology and Eaton electronic shift transmissions.
Among the new trucks, 190 units will be replacements, and the remaining 160 grow Maverick’s total number of units.
Crete, Shaffer give million-mile awards
Crete Carrier and Shaffer Trucking announced that 105 drivers have received a million-mile award for fiscal year 2011. Ninety-four of the 105 drivers received their first million-mile award with the company while 11 received a 2-million mile award. The miles associated with the awards are actual miles driven while at Crete Carrier and Shaffer Trucking.
The awards, based on the accumulation of years of driving with no preventable accidents, are presented at the annual safety awards banquet and holiday party. Awards are issued in million-mile increments. Recipients of mileage awards receive an engraved plaque, belt buckle and pin.
Affected trucks include model year 2008-2018 Freightliner Cascadia and Western Star 4700, 4900, 5700 and 6900 trucks. DTNA says after hard brake applications, the brake light pressure switch may not activate the brake lights with the light application of the brake pedal.