Posts Tagged ‘trucking service’

Feb. New Class 8 Truck Sales Up 20% from Jan, Still 24% Down from Feb 2009 Levels

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Sales are still not good for new truck dealers, and that’s continued good news for freight carriers who are interested in expanding their fleet. Class 8 truck sales were up in February by 20% over January; that’s good news, but given the lame numbers from January, that’s a left-handed complement on a par with “He runs well for a catcher.”

Measured year-to-year, new truck sales were down a roughly a quarter from February 2009 (7628 versus 10,064); that’s not good news when you note that a year ago was in the teeth of the recession and lenders were shaking in their boots after overextending credit in the years leading into the Black September meltdown of 2008. A shaky recovery has started since then and lenders are not quite reaching for the Depends like they were last winter.

However, the used truck market is in a buyer’s market given the amount of bankruptcies in the trucking transport industry. New emission standards for 2010 have also raised the prices of new trucks, so a combination of higher prices and a glut of good used-truck substitutes have driven the demand for new trucks down.

The good news for trucking service firms is that it’s going to be easier to get good used trucks, lowering your cost of replacing trucks or expanding your fleet. New truck dealers might be looking to drop prices in order to start moving inventory as well. The bad news is that your competitors or new entrants can buy those trucks cheap as well, leading to continued downward pressure on freight rates.


IdleAire Closes, Other Idle Reduction Tech to Carry On, trucking service, trucking transport

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

The trucking service industry has taken a bit of a blow, as idle-reduction innovator IdleAire closed up shop for good today. It had gone into Chapter 11 in 2008 and had its assets bought by some of its creditors, but they hadn’t been able to make a profit despite introducing the trucking services world an integrated truck-stop solution of a HVAC unit, electrical power, cable TV, telephone and Internet connection in one window-mounted unit.

Not only did the IdleAire allow the driver to turn off the engine and still have a climate-controlled tractor, but it allowed the driver to stay in contact with the outside world in an increasingly computerized age. When it was launched in 2000, it was state of the art, but not every innovator manages to make money. Geeks of a certain age will remember the Commodore computers of the late 70s and early 80s and the Tucker automobile was decades ahead of its time yet a financial failure.

A number of other companies have entered the idle-reduction market, selling units similar to the IdleAire, so the vision of IdleAire’s founders will go on; it is too nice of a concept to see it totally abandoned, especially when the environmental and cost-saving benefits of not having to run one’s engines is not lost on trucking transport firms. In fact, as authorities try to limit the amount of idling done by trucks, descendants of the IdleAire will likely flourish in the years to come, as truck stops and truckers alike will want to get green and frugal at the same time.


Stop, But Go Faster, VA Looks to Raise Speed Limits to 70, ship freight, interstate transport, trucking service

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

It will be a bit easier to ship freight on the east coast if Virginia goes through with a proposed law to up the speed limits on interstate highways to 70 MPH. The bill, SB537, has the support of newly-elected Gov. Bob McDonnell, who put in a plug for the bill in his State of the Commonwealth speech. Currently, only rural parts of I-85 are posted at 70 MPH, but other interstates would be eligible for the higher speed if traffic official deem it safe.

Virginia has made some pro-trucker moves this month, as they moved to reopen rest areas earlier this month, giving trucks a well needed place to park. Since Virginia sees quite a bit of traffic on its Interstates, including the main east coast run of I-95 and I-81, it is a key part of the interstate transport mix. I-85 gets eastern traffic to Atlanta and the I-20 corridor, and I-81 hooks up with the major I-40 corridor.

Slower speeds are more fuel-efficient, but higher speeds are more profitable for truckers, as they can spend less time on the road. If a truck is spending two hours going through Virginia, the increase speed gives them ten miles of extra range in a day, twenty if they are doing a round trip. That can save trucking service firms twenty minutes of wages an might make the difference between reaching a customer in one day and needed the truck driver to spend the night on the road before finishing the delivery.

Since a lot of truck drivers will ignore speed limits and go 70 anyways, this might increase safety rather than reduce it, as differences in speed between vehicles is often more of a problem than speed itself.


Cargo Theft Database Launched, CargoNet Working On Truck Stop Security, trucking service, owner-operator trucking, trucking transport

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

When we were serving as our own trucking service last week moving back to Michigan and had a van full of clothes and personal effects sitting outside a hotel, I noted that the hotel warned people to bring their valuables inside and that they weren’t liable for lost property. That might not be a huge risk for us with nothing much that would be pawnable to steal, but the same isn’t true of trucks. Truck drivers often leave their trucks unattended to eat, use the restroom and sometimes sleep; that makes their trailer a possible target for cargo theft.

A new online database of theft data called CargoNet is being set up to try and track trends in cargo theft and to set up procedures for certifying truck stops for their security. One of the things that I could see happening at a truck stop or hotel is that if a thief knows that a trucker is going to have to sleep for eight hours and be off-duty for ten hours based on hours-of-service rules, he won’t be around to check on his trailer. The thief has literally all night to wait for the right moment to bring up a van, pop open the back of the trailer and offload the goods; if they can break in quietly at 3AM, no one would notice.

The job of a good truck stop security plan would be to make sure that right moment never happens. Video surveillance can help prevent theft, but better police interest in such cases can help; since the victim is likely from out-of-town, the police might not be as interested.

Getting people to use such secure facilities can be a problem, since that will add to the cost of a truck stop. Penny-pinching owner-operator trucking firms might opt for less expensive facilities, but better off trucking transport firms could be more likely to afford such facilities.