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Four ways to upgrade maintenance technology


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Proper spec'ing, maintenance never out of style


fEbruary 2014

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leading news, trucking market conditions and industry analysis

E-log mandate, driver database rules were expected last month


proposed rule mandating the use of electronic logging devices was expected to be published in the Federal Register Jan. 29, according to a monthly Department of Transportation report, which said the rule was projected to clear the White The electronic logging device rule not only will mandate e-log use House’s Office of but also will set device standards and address driver harassment. Management and In its monthly update in December, Budget Jan. 17. The report also said the rule would have a 60-day comment FMCSA projected the e-log rule would be published Dec. 23. Also in the report period that would last until April 1. was an update on the agency’s Safety The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Fitness Determination rule, which now Administration’s drug and alcohol is projected for OMB clearance on July clearinghouse rule also was set to clear 24 and publication Aug. 4. OMB Jan. 17, and the DOT report That rule will change the data set projected that the rule would be puband methodology FMCSA uses to prolished Jan. 31. duce a carrier’s overall safety score. That rule will establish a database Now, the agency uses only data from of drivers who have failed or refused compliance reviews, whereas the drug or alcohol tests, and carriers will be required to submit failed or refused rule would allow it to use data from the BASIC scores in its Compliance tests to the database. Carriers also Safety Accountability system; roadside will be required to query the database inspections; and crash data. when hiring drivers. A rule complementing the e-log The electronic logging device rule mandate – designed to prevent carnot only will mandate e-log use but riers, shippers, receivers or other also will set device standards and intermediaries from coercing drivers address driver harassment. to drive in violation of safety rules – is proScan the QR code with your smartphone or visit to clear OMB letters to sign up for the CCJ Daily Report, a April 14 and be pubdaily e-mail newsletter filled with news, analylished April 23. sis, blogs and market condition articles. – James Jaillet

Drivers must carry paper copy of medical certificate through January 2015


rivers must continue to carry paper copies of their medical

certification, as is rule now, until Jan. 30, 2015. Under the same rule, drivers still were required to self-report their operating status and provide their commercial driver’s license-issuing state with a valid medical certificate by Jan. 30, 2014, and that deadline was unaffected. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced the delay for the paper copy mandate Jan. 10 in the Federal Register. All drivers had until Jan. 30, 2014, to report to their state their operating status – generally either interstate or intrastate – and furnish a valid medical examiner’s certificate. A lack of readiness by some states, however, led to the delay in the date until which drivers must carry paper copies. Since Jan. 30, 2012, drivers have been required to report their operating status and provide medical certificates when renewing their CDL – as part of the FMCSA rule to combine CDL and medical certificates – so that drivers would need to carry only a single card. Drivers who do not self-report are subject to losing their CDL privileges.

commercial carrier journal

– James Jaillet

| february 2014 9


INBRIEF 2/14 • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed shortening the three years of driving experience needed for truck drivers to obtain an exemption to drive with “vision deficiency.” The agency proposed two different options: Either shortening it to one year or removing the experience requirement altogether. FMCSA currently is reviewing comments on the proposals, which can be found at • The Association of Independent Property Brokers and Agents filed an application with FMCSA asking it to exempt all brokers from the MAP 21-mandated increase in the minimum bond amount freight brokers must carry. A notice of an application for exemption from the minimum $75,000 surety bond – up from the previous $10,000 minimum – was published in the Federal Register Dec. 26, and the agency accepted public comment until Jan. 27. • The Teamsters rejected a proposal by YRC Worldwide (CCJ Top 250, No. 3) for a contract extension that would have retained concessions the union has accepted over the past several years to help save the company. The union said 61 percent of its members voted to reject the deal, which Kansas City, Mo.-based YRC Worldwide said could jeopardize plans to refinance much of its more than $1 billion debt.

• XPO Logistics, a Greenwich, Conn.-based 3PL, acquired Concord, Calif.-based intermodal provider Pacer International (CCJ Top 250, No. 74) for $335 million. Daniel Avramovich, Pacer chairman and CEO, will continue to lead the company, which will become an XPO unit. • Andrews Logistics, a Southlake, Texas-based asset-based transportation and logistics company specializing in bulk liquid and hazardous materials transport, acquired Fort Worth, Texas-based Andrews Transport LP, a bulk liquid petroleum and chemical products transportation provider. Terms were not announced. • FMCSA declared CER Trucking Inc. and Edward Risher Trucking, both of Walterboro, S.C., as well as the latter’s owner-driver, Clarence Edward Risher Jr., to be imminent hazards to public safety. Risher, running as a driver for his father’s CER Trucking fleet, lost control of his truck Nov. 27 on a Virginia highway, crossed the center line and collided with a passenger vehicle, killing the driver. Risher Jr.’s CDL had been under suspension since 2010 and later revoked. • Oak Harbor Freight Lines was ordered to compensate a truck driver for lost wages after it fired the driver in September 2010 for refusing to drive after taking a prescription cough medicine. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration began investigating Oak Harbor after the unnamed driver filed a whistleblower complaint.

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journal news

ATA asks FMCSA to explore split sleep


he American Trucking Associations, in conjunction with the Minnesota Trucking Association, asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to conduct a two-year study to test whether truck drivers are just as rested and safe when splitting the 10-hour sleeper berth


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commercial carrier journal

| february 2014

requirements into segments rather than taking it all at once. Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer, said FMCSA already has concluded in lab studies that split sleep – though not as good as sleeping in a consolidated period – still allows drivers to hit the 7-9 hour target range. “The trucking industry wants FMCSA to take its positive laboratory-based findings on the value of split sleep and try to repeat them in a real-world field study,” Graves said. “Doing a pilot test using professional drivers in actual trucking operations could give the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration even more scientific data on which to base future improvements to the sleeper berth rules.” FMCSA responded that it already is planning to conduct a field test to gather more data on sleeper berth flexibility for drivers. “Administrator [Anne] Ferro put out a call for proposals to help the agency test if electronic onboard recorders and the latest sleep research could offer improved safety and flexibility,” the agency said. “The National Association of Small Trucking Companies responded, and we are now in the planning stages of conducting a field operational test to examine the safety benefits and impacts of flexible uses of the sleeper berth. We will also be meeting with ATA and OOIDA on the issue.” The ATA-MTA proposal said data could be collected on driver behavior to detect fatigue, the psychomotor vigilance task to check driver participants’ reactions to stimuli, the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale, drivers’ electronic logbooks and crash and incident data. That data then could be analyzed and plugged into statistical formulas to determine the differences between the pilot program participants who slept in a consolidated block at night and those who split their sleep. – James Jaillet

journal news

Bill would fund freight projects with new shipping fee


egislation reintroduced to the U.S. House would fund improvements in U.S. freight movement by tacking a 1 percent shipping fee on the total cost of domestic transport. The Freight Infrastructure Reinvestment Act of 2014 (H.R. 3825) would provide competitive grants for projects designed to increase the efficiency and capacity of the national freight mobility network. “With our nation’s freight expected to double by 2040, it is critical to start making investments in freight and transportation infrastructure now to keep America competitive internationally for years to come,” said U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), who reintroduced the bill. All fees collected through FIRA would go directly to the National Freight Mobility Infrastructure Fund, a dedicated source of funding for freight projects. Project planners would work in collaboration with their communities to identify proj-

ects of national or regional significance and apply for the grants. The Secretary of Transportation would award funds based on the project’s ability to improve freight infrastructure, its cost-effectiveness and its HowesCCJW13_HalfPageIsland.pdf economic impact.


The bill is cosponsored by Democratic Reps. Albio Sires, Steve Cohen and Janice Hahn and has been sent to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. 8/7/13 1:27 PM – Kevin Jones

Hours bill in Senate C



U.S. Senate bill would halt the most recent hours-of-service rule change and allow truck drivers to operate under the pre-July 1 rules again until Congress can review the rule further. The bill – the Senate counterpart to a House bill introduced in late October – was introduced Dec. 20 by U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), who is cosponsoring the legislation with Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.). It was referred to the Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. The TRUE Safety Act would require the Government Accountability Office to perform an assessment of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s methodology in creating the rule. The July 1 changes could not go back into effect until six months after GAO submits its findings to Congress. – James Jaillet Y


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| february 2014 13 8/8/13 8:56 AM

journal news

Judge dismisses lawsuit’s racketeering claims against Pilot, upholds other portions


U.S. District Court in Alabama last month dismissed portions of a lawsuit brought against Pilot Flying J by Mobile, Ala.-based Wright Transportation that alleges the truck stop chain and fuel provider violated the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act in its alleged scheme to defraud trucking companies out of owed fuel rebates. Federal Judge William H. Steele said Wright’s claims and evidence failed to satisfy necessary provisions of the RICO Act. Steele also dismissed counts of unjust enrichment against Pilot, but denied the dismissal of unjust enrichment counts against Pilot executives mentioned in the suit, which include Chief Executive Officer Jimmy Haslam. The court also upheld the breach of contract portion of the suit and dismissed some of the counts “with leave to amend,” meaning Wright can alter some of its claims and refile the suit. Earlier in January, Pilot reached a settlement with Western Express in a lawsuit in which the carrier said the truck stop chain’s alleged fuel rebate withholding scheme cost it $75 million in expenses and debt. The details of the settlement are confidential, per the terms of the deal. Pilot reached an $85 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit with 5,500 other trucking companies, but fleets that chose to opt out – Western and Wright among them – were allowed to pursue their own legal action. Due to the class-action settlement, Wright could not bring its suit as a class-action filing. – James Jaillet 14 Untitled-27 1

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commercial carrier journal

| february 2014

12/18/13 9:29 AM

journal news

Supreme Court denies OOIDA’s request Rule would strengthen FMCSA’s to review cross-border program ability to shut down unsafe carriers


he U.S. Supreme Court has refused the OwnerOperator Independent Drivers Association’s request to hear its case against the federal crossborder trucking pilot program with Mexico. The justices decided not to review OOIDA’s appeal at their Jan. 10 conference. In July, a federal appeals court rejected the association’s request for a rehearing of its ruling that allowed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to continue the program. Meanwhile, agency officials have admitted Road Machinery as the 15th carrier in the program, with a decision pending on Transmex Inc. The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety had voiced concern over the two-truck two-driver carrier’s safety record. In a Dec. 16 response, Associate Administrator William Quade stated Road Machinery had corrected its shortcomings sufficiently to be admitted to the program. – Jill Dunn


he Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would allow it to suspend or revoke the authority of motor carriers that have been found to have a pattern of “egregious disregard” for federal safety rules, rather than relying on results of compliance reviews alone. According to the rule, if FMCSA determines a carrier “engages or has engaged in a pattern or practice of avoiding regulatory compliance or masking noncompliance,” it would be able to shut the carrier down based on the agency’s determination, rather than solely on a carrier’s safety fitness rating. The agency said this will help “target high-risk carriers that endanger travelers by avoiding or covering up their negative history of safety compliance.” The authority for the rule change was granted by both of the most recent highway reauthorization acts, including the MAP-21 law passed in July 2012. – James Jaillet



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product reviews, oeM & supplier news and equipMent ManageMent trends

by Jack RobeRts

The biggest regulatory target in the country Trucking an easy mark for politicians to please voters


leet executives, fleet managers and truck drivers – really almost anybody connected to the trucking industry – tends to be conservative in nature. Naturally, an intense dislike of our current president and the Democratic Party are Standard Operating Procedure at any gathering of truckers these days. There are many reasons for this polarization, but when you boil things down to their very essence, the number one reason truckers dislike Democrats and the president seems to be one thing: regulations. There’s no denying that the Democratic Party is far more regulation-friendly than the Republicans in most areas. We’re seeing multiple examples of this in today’s national discourse in the debates over health care, the minimum wage, banking and financial oversight and fracking – just to name a few hot-button topics. The essential argument goes something like this: Republicans oppose regulations because they place unnecessary burdens on businesses. Besides, capitalism and the invisible hand of the free market will force businesses to act in the best interests of its workers and the

People are afraid of big trucks – and Washington knows it. 16

commercial carrier journal

| february 2014

country at large. Therefore, most regulations simply are not needed and counterproductive. No, counter the Democrats. Businesses are all about making money and maximizing profits. To do that, businesses can’t be trusted to act in the public good; they’ll naturally take shortcuts in safety or the environment – or screw their workers – in order to bring as much money as possible to the bottom line. So we need to put some rules in place and force them to act responsibly. When you look at those two simplified arguments, it’s easy to see why a majority of truckers are attracted to the Republican Party. But here’s the thing: After objectively observing this industry for almost two decades now, I have concluded that it really doesn’t matter which party is in power. Trucking, as far as I can see, never catches a break on the regulatory front. Case in point: I remember in 2000 after George W. Bush was elected president, several industry insiders told me how happy they were to hear this because, they assured me, there was no way this administration was going to enforce the dreaded and hated U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions regulations cooked up during the Clinton administration. Those regulations – which seemed impossible to meet at the time – soon would be dead and gone, or at least curtailed severely to be much friendlier to fleets and

Want more equipment neWs? Scan the barcode to sign up for the CCJ Equipment Weekly e-mail newsletter or go to Conservative industry: Republicans oppose regulations that constrain businesses like trucking. it doesn’t matter: Whoever’s in charge, trucking won’t catch a break on the regulatory front.

PubliC oPinion: Voters deal with trucks every day, which keeps them fresh on their minds.

the industry as a whole. As we all know today, those prognosticators were sorely disappointed. While the second Bush White House was one of the most business-friendly administrations in recent memory, it did nothing to alleviate or moderate EPA’s emissions regulations. As I noted in this column last month, the industry now is faced with a whole slew of regulations coming its way in the next year or so. Even though the Republicans currently hold the House of Representatives and could – in theory, anyway – propose legislation to alter or moderate these regulations in ways beneficial to the industry, don’t hold your breath. That’s because politicians of both parties understand one thing with unwavering clarity: Voters are afraid of trucks. I hate to sound a discouraging note, but we all know this. It doesn’t matter about the effectiveness of a fleet’s maintenance program, the strength of its safety record or how many millions of safe miles a driver has under his belt; when a voter in a minivan merges onto a highway at 60 mph and finds a Class 8 tractor with a 53-foot trailer thundering alongside, it scares the hell of them. Unlike dealing with a chemical company or a Wall Street institution, this is an interaction and reaction that occurs among the driving public countless times a day. The bottom line? Trucking is an easy target – perhaps the easiest target in the country – for politicians to “protect the public” by throwing regulations at it. So I hope you’re a voter. And I hope you vote your convictions in the midterm elections later this year. But if you’re in the trucking industry, don’t expect much regulatory relief – no matter which party wins. JACK ROBERTS is Executive Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. E-mail or call (205) 248-1358.

Navistar, Paccar, Daimler issue recalls


avistar announced it is recalling nearly 3,000 model-year 2013-14 International ProStar sleeper cab trucks manufactured Dec. 12, 2012, through Aug. 8, 2013, equipped with feature code 16XSA, 16XSB, 16XSC or 16XSD chassis skirts. The company said the rear chassis skirt upper horizontal support S-bracket may rub the fuel tank and create a hole in affected units. Navistar said it will notify owners and that dealers will reinstall the chassis skirt with proper clearance at no charge; the fuel tank also will be replaced if needed. The recall – number 13517 – was set to begin Jan. 20. Paccar also issued a recall for 2014 model-year Kenworth T170, T270, T370, T440, T470, T660, T680, T700, T800, T880, C500 and W900 trucks built last year between July 1 and Sept. 17 due to a plastic housing defect in the rear lights that can cause the stop, tail and turn light bulbs to fall out and not work. Kenworth said it will notify truck owners and that dealers can replace the lamps with new ones for free. Daimler Trucks North America also issued a recall for 201314 Freightliner Cascadia trucks built between Dec. 11, 2012, and Nov. 27, 2013. The trucks are equipped with a Meritor Wabco electronically controlled air suspension, for which the wiring harness could be reversed, possibly leading to incorrect adjustment of the suspension axle height. Daimler said it will notify truck owners and that dealers can inspect the wiring and correct if needed for free. – Jack Roberts and James Jaillet

Cummins to halt development of 15-liter NG engine


ummins last month confirmed plans to put development of its 15-liter spark-ignited natural gas engine – the ISX 15 G – on hold “as a result of market timing uncertainty,” said Christy House, On-Highway marketing communications director. Cummins follows Westport – at least temporarily – out of the marketplace in building 15-liter natural gas engines. Westport bowed out in October 2013, halting orders for its 15-liter engine, and unveiled its next-generation technology in December, which largely will entail working directly with vertically integrated OEMs. Cummins’ ISX 15 G was announced in mid-2012 and was expected to enter limited production later this year. However, fuel tank technology and public fueling infrastructure have been slower to develop, House said. – Jason Cannon commercial carrier journal | february 2014


INBrief •

Paccar – owner of Peterbilt and Kenworth and manufacturer of Paccar engines – announced Mark Pigott will step away as chief executive officer on April 27, when the position will be assumed by Ronald Armstrong, who also will become a board member. Pigott, who has been CEO since 1997, will remain executive chairman of the board, which also elected Robert Christensen as president and chief financial officer.

Peterbilt’s vocational Model 567 is now in full production. The truck or tractor can be configured to meet a wide range of heavy- and severe-duty applications, including dump, mixer, heavy haul and refuse.

Kenworth Truck Co. enhanced its 52-inch mid-roof sleeper offering with the addition of an optional upper bunk and aerodynamic roof fairing for the T680, which is suited for regional haul applications.

SAF-Holland now offers a lifetime warranty on its Holland Atlas 55, Atlas 65 and Mark V landing gear.

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. opened a new Commercial Tire & Service Center in Tulsa, Okla., and added Richmond, Va.-based Colonial Tire Distributors to its retread network.

Vipar Heavy Duty acquired Pearland, Texas-based Power Heavy Duty, which will become part of the Vipar family of companies and continue to serve the marketplace as a separate brand.

Donaldson announced that more than 50 sizes of its Endurance air filters now are available for off-road applications.

Truck-Lite Co. announced that U.S. Xpress Enterprises will make its custom LED headlight factory-standard for forward lighting on nearly 2,000 new 2014 Freightliner Cascadia trucks.

Freightliner Trucks announced that Chattanooga, Tenn.-based truckload carrier Covenant Transport ordered the Freightliner In-Cab Training (FIT) System for its fleet.

Republic Services replaced older diesel-powered trucks with 79 new compressed natural gas solid waste and recycling trucks serving Indianapolis and surrounding areas.

Wabash National Corp.’s Commercial Trailer Products group produced its 500,000th DuraPlate van trailer. The milestone trailer was built for Lincoln, Neb.based Crete Carrier Corp.

Jason Swann of Rush Truck Center-Dallas was named Overall Grand Champion at the 2013 Rush Tech Rodeo. Swann, who took home $15,500 in cash and prizes, also took top honors in the heavy-duty Eaton category and also was named Heavy-Duty Grand Champion.


commercial carrier journal | february 2014

in focus: tires

Dump the thump

For tire pressure checks, nothing beats a good gauge, experts say


by jack roberts

t’s a scene played out countless times a day: A truck driver climbs into his cab and cranks his rig. While the big diesel is warming up, he reaches down behind the seat or into the storage space in the door and pulls out a heavy wooden club. He climbs out and walks around his rig, A tire running with 80 percent of thumping each of the tires the psi specified for the carrying along the way to ensure they load is considered flat. have the proper air pressure. According to industry experts, he’s wasting his time. “When I see a truck driver walking around thumping their tires, I always go over and talk to them,” says Harvey Brodsky, managing director of the Retread Tire Association. “I tell them that if they think they can tell the pressure in those tires by thumping them, they might as well take that stick and whack the hood of their truck to see if it needs oil. That’s how accurate a tire thumper is.” William Estupinan, vice president of technical service for Giti Tire USA – which markets and sells GT Radial commercial tires in North America – is somewhat more generous discussing tire thumpers, but just as dubious as Brodsky. “If you think you have a ‘well-calibrated’ ear, thumping the tires could possibly give you an idea of the difference in pressure between one tire and the other, but it will never tell you the actual air pressure,” he says. Estupinan says a tire underinflated by 10 percent will see its fuel economy reduced by 1 percent. “That might


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seem low, but actually it is quite high when you multiply by tire positions, trucks in your fleet and miles run per year,” he says. Furthermore, a tire that’s 20 percent underinflated will see its tread life reduced by 30 percent, while a 40 percent underinflation will reduce the tire’s life by 50 percent, Estupinan says. “That’s not to mention irregular wear, higher thermal and mechanical fatigue of the casing, lower retreadability and even premature failure,” he says. Even if a thump is close, it’s not enough to tell if a tire is inflated safely enough to carry a load, says Estupinan, who lists several reasons why a thump never will reveal the whole story about a tire’s pressure: • A tire running with 80 percent of the psi specified for the carrying load is considered flat. • A difference of only 10 percent in air pressure between duals is enough to cause a significant difference in diameter, as well as subsequent irregular wear in both tires. • The typical sound of a tire at a particular pressure will be different if the tire is hotter. “Considering the old saying that time is money, the time saved by not inspecting the tires – about 20 to 30 minutes – with a gauge but rather with a thump will be more than lost in the monetary terms of irregular wear, reduced wear life and even losing the tire if the air loss is caused by a puncture,” Estupinan says. Brodsky says the only reliable way to check tire pressure is by using a calibrated gauge at least once a week. While calibrated gauges are more expensive, they are worth the investment, he says. “Most truckers expect to pay around $10 or $12 for a tire gauge, but most of those gauges are off by 2 or 3 psi right out of the box,”

Brodsky says. “A calibrated gauge costs around twice that.” Moreover, an even more expensive master gauge – roughly $100 – is needed for occasional necessary adjustments to a calibrated gauge to ensure its accuracy.HowesCCJUSL_HalfPageIsland.pdf “The good news is that virtually


every truck tire dealer in the country has a master tire gauge in their shop,” Brodsky says. “They wouldn’t dream of charging you to check your gauge against it.” RTA offers a free information packet on how to use calibrated gauges 12/11/13 2:40 PM and where to buy them, he says.

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technology Making the latest technology developMents work for your fleet by AAron Huff

Who needs paper? Mobile apps provide proof of delivery


or many years, it seemed like no job in the transportation industry was finished until the paperwork was done. Times have changed; today, any work process that uses paper is synonymous with waste – or more positively, an opportunity. While documents that provide customers with proof of delivery may seem to be an obvious way to go paperless, the benefits of an electronic POD model may not be as apparent. From the time a driver receives a load manifest or bill of lading at the shipping dock, having a piece of paper to match the load may seem part of the routine: Take it along for the ride, get it signed and turn it in to the office. People in the office clearly see paperwork stacking up each day, but the cost may not be as apparent since it’s all part of the daily routine. A popular solution is the use of docuDaily routine: Hard-copy ment imaging systems documents are part of the job for and services. Docucompanies stuck in a rut. ments can be routed GoinG Green?: Many fleets still ask to the office as images customers to sign for their deliveries and combined with on paper. workflow tools to Personal touch: The use of automate billing and drivers’ smart devices has cleared a payroll. This modern path to go paperless. convenience can make it easy to lose sight of the savings that can be gained by removing paperwork altogether. While companies are striving to make improvements in their green initiatives such as conserving fuel, electricity and other resources, many continue to ask customers to sign for their deliveries on paper. Besides wasting natural resources, they also may be wasting time and money. A small over-the-road carrier that makes one or two deliveries per day, per driver, is probably not consuming that much paper. However, fleets that make dozens of deliveries a day per driver may have a real problem on their hands, whether or not it is apparent to people in the office who are doing what they always have done. Let’s assume that a paper POD process requires 1.5 minutes, per document, to manage. Since time is money, a 10-truck fleet that makes 30 deliveries per truck per day could save $3,000 a month in

labor costs by eliminating paper, not counting the time it takes staff to respond to customer requests for POD documents. The use of personal mobile devices and applications has cleared a path to go paperless by eliminating upfront investments in field devices and software licenses. Drivers already own the hardware – a smartphone or tablet – and a mobile subscription to capture delivery information such as electronic POD signatures. Besides eliminating paper, fleets can use features found in mobile POD applications to increase operating efficiency. According to the National Private Truck Council’s annual fleet benchmarking study, it costs $3 per mile to operate a truck based on a utilization rate of 75,000 miles a year. A 1 percent improvement in fleet efficiency is possible by using mobile applications to optimize delivery routes and gain visibility of activities such as the amount of time drivers spend at each stop. Some fleets now require their drivers – and their contractors, in particular – to have smartphones to run their mobile POD applications. The companies easily can compensate drivers for their data usage to run these apps, which isn’t much. The JumpTrack POD application uses about 12k of data per stop. Each month, the app will use less than 1 GB of data from a driver’s phone for making dozens of deliveries per day. Based on a standard 3 GB monthly data plan costing $30 per month, the fleet would reimburse the driver $10 per month, says John Freund, president and chief executive officer of Jump Technologies. JumpTrack’s cloud-based architecture makes it easy to go paperless quickly, Freund says. The user interface for drivers is as intuitive as other apps used to minimize training time. aaron huff is senior editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. e-mail or call (801) 754-4296. commercial carrier journal | february 2014




in focus: Maintenance software

Comdata Inc. acquired eFueling Technologies, a subsidiary of Woodfin Oil Co. Comdata said the acquisition, terms of which were not announced, will help expand its product offerings in the unattended fueling market.

Smarter shops

Velociti, a provider of technology deployment services, announced its new ROI– Savings Calculator, an online tool designed to provide fleets with a clear indication of true cost savings and return on investment.

PassTime, a telematics provider, launched a new fleet division, PassTime Fleet Finance and Telematics, and selected Geotab’s fleet management technology as the major foundation of its portfolio.

Sylectus, a business unit of Omnitracs Canada and provider of Web-based transportation management software, announced that 30 percent of its customer base has adopted or is testing its Android-based Sylectus Mobile application.

Pegasus TransTech announced new customer signups in 2013 set a record for the seventh consecutive year. The company said its Transflo scanning services continue to grow in popularity with fleets.

hen considering today’s options to enhance or upgrade fleet management systems, the applications in the office and mobile environment likely will take priority over those in the maintenance bay. For many years, fleet mainPeopleNet and TMW Systems have created an tenance software systems have integrated DVIR application. done the same things: schedule service, track repairs and manage parts inventory. Once the software was installed and doing what it was supposed to do, bigger challenges and opportunities in the company seemed to command attention. But as with all technology, FMS systems have evolved and continue to do so. While recent advancements may not be as flashy or exciting as other areas in fleet management, they can make a difference. Here are four areas to consider an upgrade:

Lytx Inc., a global provider of driver safety and compliance systems, announced the addition of more than 140 new clients and more than 55,000 new DriveCam Powered by Lytx subscriptions in 2013.

Bestpass announced that it is continuing to expand its coverage of tolling authorities across the country. The company has established operating arrangements or agreements with E-ZPass, ExpressToll, Prepass, Norpass, NJPass and NCPass.

Cadec Global announced that Northwest Food Products Transportation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Land O’ Lakes, upgraded to Cadec’s PowerVue Enterprise system to provide fleet managers with real-time driver and fleet activity information viewable from one dashboard.

Interested In truCkIng teChnology? Scan the barcode or go to to subscribe to the CCJ Technology Weekly e-mail newsletter. 24

Four ways to upgrade maintenance technology by aaron huff



Closed-loop inspections The Compliance Safety Accountability program has given fleets and drivers an incentive to pay closer attention to equipment defects – however minor – before they lead to a roadside inspection or violation. Managing the flow of maintenance-related information among drivers, the office and the maintenance bay is essential to identify and resolve problems quickly before they surface as CSA violations. Many fleets have their drivers use mobile applications to submit electronic driver vehicle inspection reports. Any defects found in the reports can flow directly into FMS systems to initiate a closed-loop repair process. PeopleNet’s touchscreen mobile devices – the Blu and Tablet platforms – have an icon in the daily workflow menu to initiate an inspection form. Forms with noted defects are captured by TMW Systems’ TMT fleet maintenance system and added to a queue of pending repair orders for mechanics to review and initiate repairs. Once the repair is complete, TMT sends a form to drivers via the PeopleNet in-cab device; drivers enter their name, date and time on the form to acknowledge the repair. J.J. Keller offers an electronic DVIR application in For Zonar’s integration its Keller Mobile electronic onboard recorder that uses with SquareRigger, Zonar Android devices for the driver display. The eDVIR is provides the 2020 Tablet integrated into Keller’s Encompass management portal. offering commercial navigation, hours of service, Inspection defects are displayed on the Encompass dashtwo-way communication board with a maintenance feature to create repair orders and electronic vehicle and manage the process through completion. inspections on an open Android platform. SquareRigger Software, which offers the SQ.7 fleet

commercial carrier journal | february 2014

relying on unproven technology.

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technology maintenance management system, has an integration with Zonar that adds inspection defects to SQ.7’s Work Request system to create repair orders and schedule service. Arsenault Associates, developer of the Dossier maintenance system, also is developing an integration with Zonar where diagnostic trouble codes captured directly from engine and vehicle electronics will be included in the scheduling and repair process.


ledger accounting system. Both the Dossier and SQ.7 systems integrate with LoadMaster to send cost information from work orders directly to LoadMaster’s general ledger. Similarly, purchase orders flow directly into accounts payable. Accounting integration also is a useful feature for fleets that perform outside repair work. Invoicing and managing receivables can be managed directly from the central accounting system. For financial reporting, PCS Software’s maintenance module has all parts and labor costs integrated with its dispatch and accounting databases. Management can view profit-andloss statements per truck and trailer and see the service costs for assets through any date range.

Prenotifications FMS systems can provide visibility of pending maintenance work to fleet managers, load planners and other office staff that control Ryder Systems is beefing up its the daily schedules of drivers and equipment. technology and integration opThis visibility allows maintenance work to be tions for its full-service leasing and scheduled more conveniently. Managing service events on-demand maintenance services. Arsenault’s Dossier system interfaces directly While previous FMS systems have not prowith McLeod Software’s LoadMaster transportation management vided visibility of maintenance service events that take place beyond system. For pending maintenance work, Dossier sends notifications a fleet’s facilities, new technologies are changing that paradigm. that are displayed in LoadMaster’s dispatch and load planning The Decisiv platform integrates with more than 35 different screens. Dossier also receives information from LoadMaster to maintenance management systems used by dealers, independent assist with scheduling, such as odometer readings from any of the shops and fleets. The platform captures vehicle inspections and telematics systems that integrate with the TMS. other service event data from electronic forms used to trigger a PCS Software’s cloud-based TMS has an integrated fleet mainmaintenance service event. The repair’s progress is tracked through tenance module that allows clients to set up a flagging system that all stages from cost estimate to completion and reimbursement for parts and labor covered by warranty. interrupts the dispatch process and warns dispatchers when trucks Ryder has invested $25 million in its IT infrastructure to add new are due for service. Carriers can set the flagging system to lock the capabilities such as reporting and integration features for fleets that truck from being dispatched if the service does not get addressed use its on-demand maintenance services at more than 800 U.S. and after the warning period has expired. Canada locations. Ryder sends fleets documents and files for work Seamless accounting performed on their vehicles and has started to integrate service FMS systems have built-in accounting features to track event data with Decisiv, TMW Systems and Zonar. Its customers maintenance expenses and create purchase orders for parts and also can sign in to a Web portal to view their vehicle repair histories. third-party vendors. For maximum efficiency and control, fleets Today, it is difficult to get the full value from FMS technology prefer to manage all financial transactions from a single general without integration with other fleet management systems.



Webtech Driver Center available on MDT3500 Android devices


ebtech Wireless Inc., a provider of vehicle fleet location-based services and telematics technology, announced that its Webtech Driver Center software application now is available on ruggedized MDT3500 In-Cab devices. Webtech Driver Center, a mobile fleet management application built on the Android platform, benefits from Android smart device technology, making the MDT3500 touchscreen seem instinctive and natural to use, said Scott Edmonds, 26

commercial carrier journal | february 2014

president and chief executive officer of Webtech Wireless. “Putting the MDT3500 together with Webtech Driver Center on an Android system puts our customers ahead of the technology curve,” Edmonds said. “Early adoption means better driver logs, accurate vehicle inspection reports and improved productivity.” – Aaron Huff




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SCORING DRIVERS Technology helps evaluate, reward performance across the board more fairly BY AARON HUFF


n the truck-driving profession, performance-based pay goes back to the day the automobile replaced the horse-drawn wagon. Drivers always have earned their living by the mile rather than by drawing salaries or signing time sheets. With advancements in technology, fleets now are able to look at much more than the odometer to determine what drivers are worth. In the past two years, Nussbaum Transportation has made big strides in developing a more fair and objective performance-based program. Central to this effort is the advanced software system it uses to automate its incentives and give drivers and managers the information they need to maximize earnings. When Nussbaum switched insurance companies in 2010, a consultant for its new insurer created a monthly scorecard for the Normal, Ill.-based fleet to manage its safety performance. The monthly meetings with the consultant always ended with action items to complete by the next meeting. Nussbaum decided to apply this process elsewhere in the company. The 230-truck fleet first created a driver safety scorecard and soon after added a fuel scorecard. The safety scorecard begins with a points balance for accident-free driving, accident-free work and ticket-free driving; drivers lose points when events occur in each category. The fuel scorecard measures fuel-efficient driving, low idling and fuel purchase compliance. An operations scorecard grades productivity, on-time

There is a full mpg in the driver’s right foot. – Jeremy Stickling, director of human resources and safety, Nussbaum Transportation 32



service and out-of-route driving. A maintenance scorecard is now in progress to reward drivers for detecting equipment issues and to subtract points for missing them. Nussbaum plans to continue adding categories and objective measures to its scorecards as time and IT resources allow, says Jeremy Stickling, director of human resources and safety. NO ROOM FOR EXCUSES Management put a lot of thought into its fuel scorecard to avoid an “all-or-nothing” approach where drivers either receive a bonus for meeting a target mpg or walk away without anything. “That is a big de-motivator,” Stickling says. Drivers who miss the target tend to blame circumstances beyond their control such as the weather or the weight of loads they haul.

Nussbaum Transportation uses an advanced software system to automate incentives for drivers, giving them and managers the information they need to maximize earnings.

Nussbaum’s fuel program accounts for all of these factors and more. The company designed a software program in .Net called Driver Excelerator to collect, analyze and score fuel-related data from a variety of sources. The mpg numbers are captured by its PeopleNet mobile computing system from the engine’s electronic control modules. This mpg is compared to actual mpg based on fuel purchases and miles to ensure accuracy. Drivers earn fuel points for being above the fleet’s target mpg. They earn one point for every .01 mpg they exceed the target; if the goal is 6.5 mpg, a driver that averages 8.5 mpg for the quarterly measurement period gets 200 points. The Driver Excelerator has built-in formulas that give drivers handicap points for mpg based on a truck’s year and model, the absence of an auxiliary power unit and the type of trailers they pull.

The software also adjusts mpg for load weights; heavier loads get a handicap, while light loads take the points back. It also handicaps mpg for weather through a database of truck locations reported in 15-minute increments and cross-referenced to temperature records from a national weather database. “A guy in Minnesota is at a much bigger disadvantage for mpg than someone in Texas,” Stickling says. However, on any given day, this could change if a winter storm moves through Dallas. “The colder temperatures are taken into account,” he says. The software also matches truck locations to wind speeds and directions. If drivers claim they were fighting headwinds, Nussbaum instantly can tell them how many points they received in compensation and then move quickly to discussing more pertinent information such as the driver’s speed and rpms. Driver Excelerator also accounts for topography and trip length; shorter trips are likely to lower mpg because of more stop-and-go activity. “The reason we do all of this analysis is to measure what the driver’s real situation was,” Stickling says. “That has to be resolved in their mind for them to be properly motivated.” Every month, drivers receive a four-page scorecard in the mail; meanwhile, driver managers have live access to driver performance statistics. By using the custom software, managers can see driver history and compare a driver’s performance to other drivers hauling on similar routes. GETTING PAID Nussbaum has a three-tier bonus structure. Drivers whose point totals fall within the first tier, Bronze, receive 50 cents a point; Silver pays $5 a point, and Gold $8. Some Goldlevel drivers are making more than $1,600 in bonus money COMMERCIAL CARRIER JOURNAL

| FEBRUARY 2014 33

technology: Performance-based Pay

every three months. Drivers also can choose a per-mile incentive that ranges from 0 to 5 cents per mile based on point totals. This program is the default option for new drivers because of the recruiting benefits of offering drivers a base pay that includes 2 cents per mile of incentives. The number of points drivers earn during one quarterly period determines the extra amount they earn per mile for the next quarter. “Most guys go up, not down,” Stickling says. Nussbaum plans to make performance-based pay a greater portion of drivers’ base pay rates. “For us to do that, it needs to be per mile,” he says. “If it becomes 15 percent of pay, it doesn’t make sense to pay drivers a low amount and then get four big checks per year. Guys want their money now.” As for results, Stickling says some drivers have raised their mpg by one whole number just by slowing down. “There is a full mpg in the driver’s right foot,” he says. Driver feeDback Three years ago, Nalco Champion’s private fleet stationed at the company’s plant in Garyville, La., began using Turnpike, a mobile fleet management system from XRS Corp. Nalco produces chemicals for the gas and oil supply chain from the well to the refinery. Nalco began using the system to automate payroll for its 900-plus drivers who are paid by the hour. Change-of-duty status records in the system’s electronic log application capture their shift start and stop times. A driver scorecard feature in Turnpike also tracks hard braking and over-speed events, two metrics that help determine the amount drivers receive for an annual bonus, says Joe Neucere, Nalco’s onboard computer administrator. 34

commercial carrier journal

| february 2014

Nalco is one of many fleets that use turnkey applications to score drivers and automate pay and incentive programs. A number of similar technologies are becoming more prevalent as more carriers look to restructure their driver pay based on a range of Nussbaum Transportation performance categodeveloped the Driver ries. Excelerator software to manTelematics systems age driver performance. have been reporting vehicle and driver performance data for years, but the reports always have gone to fleet management. New features give drivers immediate in-cab feedback to compare their results to fleet goals and against their peers. PeopleNet soon will release an in-cab driver scorecard for its mobility platform. When the vehicle is in motion, the scorecard will use text-to-voice functionality to alert drivers to areas where they are not performing well, such as fuel economy. Drivers will be able to see their overall score while driving, and when stopped, scores can be viewed in more detail, says Rick Ochsendorf, PeopleNet’s senior vice president. Rand McNally currently offers a stats menu in its TND 760 and TPC 7600 in-cab systems. Drivers can click on the stats icon to see how they are performing for the day and over the past month for mpg, idling time, hard braking, shifting, speeding and other areas. The XRS mobile platform has an online portal that drivers can use to view scorecard data; the platform is compatible with a wide range of smartphones and tablets. When in motion, the screen shows drivers the hours they have available; when stopped, drivers can see the same live performance data that management sees for fuel economy, compliance, safety and other areas. Omnitracs’ Performance Monitoring application can deliver instant alerts and summary driver data to fleets. With the multimedia capabilities of the Mobile Computing Platform, users can send scorecard reports created in the office to drivers as PDF files.

The new XRS mobile platform has an online portal drivers can use to view scorecards when vehicles are not in motion.

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technology: Performance-based Pay Virtual driVer coaching Rather than drivers having to wait for reports and scorecards to receive feedback, several new technologies have been designed to provide a real-time PedalCoach is a digital adaptive coaching mechanism. gauge that trains drivers Transport Distribution Co. behow to optimize throttle came acquainted with such a techinput and gear selection. nology in March 2013. Later that spring, management for the Joplin, Mo.-based fleet selected a group of drivers with varying years of experience and results for fuel-efficient driving to use the new technology from LinkeDrive called PedalCoach. Within six months, the group realized a 12 percent improvement in fuel economy. “We took some of our toughest-to-teach long-term drivers who had numerous years of experience driving a truck the ‘old way’ and converted them to obtaining our mpg goals by using PedalCoach,” says Steve Page, TDC vice president of safety. The 148-truck carrier runs the PedalCoach application on dash-mounted devices that drivers can see as they scan their mirrors. To use the technology, drivers have to remember only one instruction: “Keep this thing in the green.” The “thing” is a needle on the user interface – an analogstyle gauge – that indicates the flow rate of fuel to the engine. The “green” represents the fueling target and is an area on the bottom third of the gauge below yellow and red. PedalCoach calculates the fuel target instantaneously using ECM data. This target is adjusted dynamically based on payload, temperature, topography and other factors, yet the green area on the gauge remains static. Drivers can monitor their performance visually at any moment or in any circumstance. Audible alerts also warn drivers if they leave the green zone, prompting a response to ease up on the throttle or change gears. The “cha-ching” of a cash register sounds after every mile drivers complete in the green. At the end of every trip or trip segment when the ignition is turned off, PedalCoach displays a score to drivers based

McLeod Software’s Driver Scorecard module pulls data from a variety of sources.


commercial carrier journal

| february 2014

on a scale of 0-100 for how they performed, says Jeff Baer, chief executive and founder of LinkeDrive. expanding the score In-cab driver scorecards and virtual coaching generally are tied to data that comes directly from the vehicle through the ECM. Fleets often want to build more comprehensive scorecards using data from a variety of sources. McLeod Software’s LoadMaster transportation management software system has a Driver Scorecard module with built-in integration to sources that include telematics, public Compliance Safety Accountability websites and its own LoadMaster operations database. The Driver Scorecard module unites this information into a single database for reporting, analysis and payroll integration. To customize driver scorecards, McLeod users can select the items they wish to include and create a scoring system. A completed scorecard immediately integrates with the LoadMaster TMS to populate fields in other screens – such as load planning, driver management and accounting/payroll – with driver scores, says Glen Lowry, regional sales manager. EBE Technologies’ Ships Driver Management software system, offered in both onsite and Web-based versions, can collect information from any source to create driver scorecards. The system automatically can identify drivers who are eligible for bonuses and integrate with a carrier’s accounting and dispatch systems to generate the bonus in drivers’ settlement checks. The bonus can be calculated on a single milestone or on a combination of data points such as mpg targets, training completion and customer service, says Cindy Nelson, vice president of marketing. One thing that is common among all turnkey applications for scoring drivers is that they do not necessarily add more data to an enterprise. Rather, they leverage existing data and present it in a more simple and accessible format to drive more immediate results.

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Text INFO to 205-289-3554 or visit

The 2014 Freightliner Columbia daycab was a glider kit fitted with a refurbished diesel engine that itself was retrofitted with an American Power Group natural gas fuel system.

In a CCJ exclusive, a road test and firsthand experience with natural gas retrofit fuel systems and glider kits reveal interesting possibilities for cost-minded truck fleets by Jack RobeRts


he first part of my test drive began westbound What lies beneath? on Interstate 80 out of Salt Lake City, on the I previously reported on the partnership among a team level desert run that leads to the Bonneville of glider kit builders, sales and support provider Wheel Salt Flats. The goal then had been to find Time, natural gas supplier Blu and APG to introduce flat ground and a little traffic to give me a feel for the natural gas glider kits to the North American trucking truck. But now, we’d doubled back and were climbing industry (CCJ December 2013). Fleets wishing to find an the Wasatch Mountains east of the city on I-215 leading affordable way to get into the natural gas game can spec to I-80 East toward Park City. Here, I’d get a chance to glider kits with retrofit fuel systems and save as much as pull some serious mountain grades and see for myself $40,000 on the vehicle compared to purchasing a new, if a dual-fuel diesel-ignited dedicated natural gas truck. A natural gas truck engine was further enticement is that fleets up to hauling 44,000 pounds in can spec older pre-exhaust gas demanding terrain. recirculation emissions engines Starting up the first grade, the to power these trucks – and road suddenly began a series enjoy more reliable power and of winding S-turns at the same serviceability in the bargain. time that construction took a My test rig was a gleaming couple of lane options off the white 2014 Freightliner Cotable. The truck was pulling lumbia daycab truck. On the well, but I grabbed another outside, even seasoned industry gear just to be on the safe side. veterans would be unable to – Brian Orr, president, stewart Logistics It turned out to be the most tell that this truck was anything other than a new Columbia. remarkable thing that occurred during my test drive. Climbing into the cab, that reaction was further reinThat’s not a slam against the Freightliner Columbia forced: The interior still had a factory-fresh smell with I was driving, but rather a vindication that this rig – a modern instrumentation and gauges, mirrors and ergoglider kit fitted with a refurbished diesel engine that itself nomics. Because the truck had been spec’d as a regionalwas retrofitted with an American Power Group natuhaul daycab, its interior appointments were basic. But ral gas fuel system – had performed exactly as the folks if a fleet wanted to upgrade the interior with the latest at APG, the Wheel Time Group and Smith Power, the Daimler diagnostic and telematics systems, it wouldn’t be manufacturer of the truck, had assured me it would. a problem.

For the life of me, I don’t understand why everyone isn’t trying this, because the numbers work.

commercial carrier journal

| february 2014 39

EquipmEnt: Natural Gas Glider Kit

Most importantly is the performance of the fuel system It was underneath the hood and cab where the real in actual driving conditions, which was why my Salt differences this tractor offered could be found. Pulling Lake hosts were so eager for me to drive the truck in the the hood forward didn’t reveal the new selective catanearby mountains. The dual-fuel system delivered in lytic reduction-equipped DD12 one would expect to see. spades; the glider kit pulled as well as any truck on the Instead, I was greeted with a concrete-gray 1996-vintage highway. The truck was loaded with about 44,000 pounds Series 60 Detroit Diesel engine, complete with vibrant in the box and had no problem dealing with any grades – blood-red lettering scripted across the engine block. Glider kits take advantage of a quirky loophole in truck up to 6 in percent in some areas. This is clearly a system that works on the driver’s behalf to get the job done. manufacturing laws that allow fleets to purchase a truck with a new cab and chassis, fitted with a recycled or refurbished drivetrain. The additional twist – thrown into Do the numbers aDD up? the mix by APG, Wheel Time and their partners – is that I was impressed enough with the dual-fuel glider contheir rebuilt powertrains receive the further addition of cept to ask a couple of APG customers to talk about their a natural gas fuel and tank system. The system manages experiences at the CCJ Fall Symposium in December in the flow of the two fuels to the engine, using diesel both Scottsdale, Ariz. as the ignition source in the combustion chamber and as Brian Orr – president of Stewart Logistics, a FedEx Ground contractor out a power boost in situations of Atlanta – said he was demanding higher torque attracted to natural gas a from the engine. couple of years ago due to So when the truck is just its low price and his belief getting rolling or climbing that he could use it to add a steep mountain grade, $1 per gallon burned by his the system supplies larger fleet to his bottom line. amounts of diesel to the Looking at acquisition engine – up to 50 percent of costs, Orr calculated he the fuel supplied, dependcould buy a new diesel ing on road and terrain conditions – and then dials tractor for his runs for that ratio back as engine about $128,000. A simiload demands decrease. larly spec’d new natural gas The Series 60 Detroit Diesel engine was refurbished and retrofitted with So on my flat run heading a bi-fuel natural gas kit from APG and Wheel Time before being dropped tractor would cost between in a Freightliner Columbia glider. west, the engine was using $180,000 and $200,000. a minimum of diesel – only But a retrofitted glider kit a little shot to initiate combustion – while the cheaper could be had for $110,000. Based on those calculations, natural gas kept the wheels turning. Later in the mounOrr opted to try a glider kit built by Fitzgerald and took tains, the system delivered a significantly higher percentownership of his first vehicle in October 2013. age of diesel to the combustion mix to make sure I had Today, Orr is running two Series 60-powered dualplenty of power to deal with the terrain. fuel glider kits five days per week on a dedicated route On the road, the truck handles and drives exactly as between Atlanta and Meridian, Miss. The trucks burn the one expects: it is, after all, a new truck. The only indiesel gallon equivalent of 71 gallons a day. Orr typically dications that something unusual is happening are an buys the fuel for about 96 cents a gallon cheaper than electronic fuel system monitor on the dash, which shows diesel. the driver the diesel-to-natural gas fuel ratio, and the The result, he said, has been a 65 percent displacement noise level in the cab. Although the truck is new, it has of diesel fuel burned for a cost savings of $68.16 a day a 20-year-old engine under the hood that – despite the per truck. “This works out to $340.80 in fuel cost savings technological upgrades it has received in its current a week, or a total of $17,721.60 in yearly fuel cost savings, incarnation – is louder than new ones that come out of per truck,” Orr said. factories today, so some more pronounced drivetrain Mike Pope – president and chief executive officer of noise is to be expected. Racine, Wis.-based Pope Transport – was pleasantly 40

commercial carrier journal

| february 2014

EquipmEnt: Natural Gas Glider Kit

surprised upon comparing notes with Orr in Scottsdale to discover that the numbers both fleets were seeing essentially were identical. Pope’s story differed slightly from Orr’s in that he initially opted to retrofit his existing older diesel trucks with the dual-fuel natural gas system, although he said he will be purchasing new glider kits with the system in the future. Pope’s first run with a natural gas retrofit truck in July 2013 – with himself behind the wheel – was from Sturtevant, Wis., to Gary, Ind. Using a conventional diesel truck, Pope expected to see an average of 5.62 miles per gallon on that 210-mile trip. But with an initial 50 percent displacement of diesel fuel used, that average – for diesel only – jumped to 12.35 miles per gallon. Pope calculated that his total fuel cost per mile for both natural gas and diesel was 54 cents a gallon – a savings of 17 cents per mile over his diesel-only trucks. Today, Pope has expanded his fleet of dual-fuel gliders and completed no less than 16 separate fuel tests with the trucks to get a handle on his costs and savings. His fleet today includes eight dual-fuel trucks; two trucks have 450-horsepower Mercedes-Benz MB 400 engines, and six trucks are running 500-hp Detroit Series 60 engines.



Pope said he’s invested $210,000 in retrofitting his trucks, with payback coming in 14 to 16 months at fuel savings between 10 and 20 cents per mile. Looking ahead, Pope said he expects to overhaul and convert his remaining trucks to the dual-fuel natural gas system between 700,000 and 900,000 miles. Once the entire fleet is converted, his long-term projected fleet savings numbers – based on his current fuel test numbers – indicate fuel cost savings for 25 trucks running 50,000 miles a week at $10,000 per week, or $500,000 per year. Those numbers don’t consider other potential cost savings, Pope said. As a farmer, he already has a natural gas line running to his farm to dry his corn harvest. By adding his own fueling equipment for his trucks, Pope said he can extend his fuel cost savings further as much as $822,500 per year. For both Orr and Pope, the natural gas numbers are adding up nicely in the real world. “I got into this business to make money,” Orr said. “For the life of me, I don’t understand why everyone isn’t trying this, because the numbers work.” It’s a sentiment shared by Pope. “Today, we once again have the opportunity to control our costs and make a profit,” he said. “For me, trucking just got fun again.”







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The following is an excerpt from How to Manage Cash Flow, a manual produced by Commercial Carrier University and sponsored by Chevron Delo and Sprint. CCU is an educational program produced by Commercial Carrier Journal that includes business management manuals, seminars aimed at improving management skills and a website. For more information, visit Using idle cash better By now you have improved your cash flow so much that your cash reserves are piling up. Even relatively small cash surpluses can generate still more cash, so you should take steps to increase the return on your idle cash. The first step in evaluating what to do with idle cash is to know how you got it and how long you will have it. Your investment options depend on whether this cash is available for a few days or a few months. Short-term cash surpluses can spring from a quick-paying customer, a well-run billing-and-collection cycle or an effective stretching of your accounts payable. These surpluses might last only one to three weeks. Even a company with revenue of $200,000 per month might at any one time have $50,000 to $100,000 cash balances temporarily for a week or two before the bills come due. A large surplus-cash balance created because you aren’t paying bills isn’t a surplus at all. Make sure you cover all payroll tax deposits, trade



payables and other obligations before you consider investment options. Late charges or a damaged reputation will cost you more than you could earn on the funds.

A better investment might be to pay down your debt – even if only temporarily. If you have a line of credit at 10 percent and you can spare your extra $50,000 to reduce that debt, you would save more than $400 per month in Using bank funds interest – almost Many companies use Even relatively small $5,000 per year. two bank accounts cash surpluses Sweep arrange– a money market ments can make this account for depositcan be used to process automatic. ing all collections and generate still more Your bank can take a checking account your excess cash for disbursements. By cash, so you should each night and apply placing all customer take steps to it toward your line payments immediof credit. In the ately into a money increase the return morning, the bank market account and on your idle cash. gives you back the transferring enough money. Over time, this has almost each week to cover checks written in the same effect as paying down your the checking account, your cash balloan, but it’s more convenient and ances earn interest almost from the consistent. Your bookkeeper might date of deposit. object to the extra bank reconciliaEven at today’s low interest rates, tion chores, but it’s worth it in the you might be permanently investlong run. ing $50,000 to $100,000 in funds. If Your bank also offers a variety of the return is 3 percent, that could certificates of deposit that make sense be $1,500 to $3,000 per year in extra if you know of a particular need for earnings for your company.


COMMERCIAL CARRIER UNIVERSITY cash a few months ahead, such as income tax payments. The returns are small – only 3 to 4 percent – but you have little concern over losing any value on your investment. Another bank product is the repurchase agreement. Banks keep an inventory of U.S. Treasury securities and can sell them to you with the agreement to repurchase them in a week or a month. You might invest $99,600 in such securities, and the bank agrees upfront to buy them back in 30 days for $100,000. Returns may be only in the range of 3 to 5 percent.

Using discounts Taking purchase discounts can pay off handsomely. Scour your supplier and vendor statements to see if they offer early payment discounts. Even a 1 percent discount for payment in 10 days with net due in 30 days will offer a fantastic – and risk-free – return. If, for example, you owe $10,000

but can pay $9,900 if you pay within 10 days, you earn $100 for paying early. In effect, you are earning 18 percent interest on your money for 20 days. If anyone offers 2/10 net 30, take the discount. That’s equal to a 36 percent annual interest rate. It may even make sense to take an advance on your line of credit at 10 percent to earn the discount.

Longer-term options If you have exhausted short-term strategies and still have a surplus, you might investigate other options. A good starting place might be an investment policy statement. Get your banker or investment adviser to help prepare one. A policy statement is a brief listing of what your investment time frame might be and a listing of what types of investments are appropriate for this time frame and for your company. Most importantly, a policy outlines investments that are not

appropriate. It can be a written guide for your internal managers and outside investment advisers. A fundamental principle of investing is that to get higher rewards, you must take more risks. If you are considering bonds or equities, consult a CPA, certified financial planner or investment adviser that work on a fee-only basis. Fee-only advisers charge by the size of the portfolio, so their reward depends on increasing your portfolio, not getting you to buy something because it pays a commission.

In summary To invest excess funds effectively, you must know the period during which your cash is available. Different investments are appropriate for different time periods. And there may be great investments inside your own business – in the form of reducing your debt or taking discount opportunities.

Commercial Carrier University is an educational initiative for owners and managers of trucking companies that are held at select Truckload Carriers Association events. We’re certain you will find this program a valuable resource in managing your business more easily and more profitably. CCU’s goal is to provide you with an in-depth road map for success through clear advice on basic and advanced business practices. CCU Titles Available: • How to Evaluate Life Cycle Costs • How to Manage Cashflow • How To Plan For Succession • How to Use Financial Statements • How To Write A Business Plan Produced by:

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| FEBRUARY 2014 43

Text INFO to 205-289-3554 or visit

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Carrier Transicold’s XtendFresh container atmosphere control system is designed to help maintain the quality of shipped produce while extending shipping distances. The modular system is engineered to control oxygen and carbon dioxide levels while removing ethylene, a hormone given off by ripening produce that can accelerate ripening if left unchecked. The system is available as an option on new Carrier TRUs and can be added to existing units equipped with the Micro-Link 3 controller. Carrier Transicold,, 800-227-7437, Text INFO to 205-289-3554 or visit

All-position steer radial Bridgestone’s R244 All-Position Steer Radial Tire is designed for dump trucks and concrete mixer fleets that spend a higher percentage of their miles in on-highway use. Designed with a widebase ribbed steer pattern, the tire features special tread compounds to help provide resistance to irregular wear, while sidewall protector ribs help protect the casing from curbing damage, cuts and abrasions. The tire now is available in size 425/65R22.5, with sizes 385/65R22.5 and 445/65R22.5 set for release later this year. Bridgestone Commercial Solutions,, 800-523-6366,

Jump starter Clore offers Truck Pac’s ES8000, a 1,500amp 24-volt jump starter with dual ES Series batteries designed for vehicle starting applications in fleet, industrial and agricultural operations. The robust starter is designed to deliver high output current, extended cranking power and numerous jumps per charge. It features extra-long heavy-duty cables for flexible positioning, industrial-grade Hot Jaw clamps for maximum power transfer to the vehicle, a rugged impact-resistant case, automatic charging and a battery-status LED. Clore Automotive,,

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Containment barrier New Pig’s Build-A-Berm Barrier Bladder Section is designed to help facilities meet secondary containment regulations while minimizing the overall area needed to provide containment. When used with the company’s Build-A-Berm System, the Bladder Section helps provide an additional 55 gallons of sump capacity

to a secondary containment area. Suited for use in limited spaces where current containment area cannot be expanded, the Bladder Section remains out of the way and is designed to deploy automatically when a spill occurs. New Pig Corp.,, 800-468-4647, Text INFO to 205-2893554 or visit

commercial carrier journal | february 2014



Wide-single retread Continental’s HTL1 wide-single truck tire now is available as a ContiTread retread. In 400-millimeter tread width, the HTL1 can be retreaded for fleets that operate wide-single drive or trailer tires in sizes 445/50R22.5 and 455/55R22.5. The HTL1 ContiTread matches the tire’s tread pattern and features a 13/32-inch tread depth and a fuel-efficient rib pattern. Continental Truck Tires,, 704-5833900, Text INFO to 205-289-3554 or

Coronado SD bumper Hendrickson Bumper and Trim’s Aero Clad Coronado SD bumper, part of the company’s All Makes bumper product line, offers a bright mirrored finish that promotes better corrosion resistance and weight savings. More than 150 pounds lighter compared to the OEM steel bumper, the Coronado SD bumper is a bi-metal material that bonds stainless steel and aluminum at a molecular level for a chrome-like finish designed not to rust, peel or fade over time. The material also is engineered to maintain higher yield strength for added durability. Hendrickson Bumper and Trim,, 800356-6737, Text INFO to 205-289-3554 or

Sealed connectors Del City’s Cool Seal butt connectors have an anaerobic sealant designed to reduce installation time by allowing a two-step process – stripping the wire and crimping – that eliminates the need for torches or heat guns to create a sealed connection. The heatless, solderless copper connector helps prevent the ingress of moisture and air while resisting abrasions and punctures and offering added electrical conductivity. Del City,, 800-654-5757, Text INFO to 205-2893554 or visit

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Mirror-finish fender Hogebuilt’s handcrafted 430 bright anneal option for its 304 mirror-finish fender features a 3-inch side flange and complements the existing fender line. The BA500HT mirror-shine product is available with a 25½-inch drop, and the BA505HT low rider comes with a 31-inch drop. Hogebuilt,, 800-421-1589, Text INFO to 205-289-3554 or

Synthetic transmission oil Champion’s 4000 Ultra Synthetic with Dynavis Technology is a high-efficiency synthetic transmission and hydraulic oil made with premium additives and extremely shear-stable polymer thickeners. The oil is formulated for added low-temperature pumpability and high-temperature shear stability to help minimize pumping losses and startup wear while facilitating maximum film strength and minimum internal leakage at any operating temperature. Champion Brands, www.championbrands. com, 800-821-5693, Text INFO to 205-2893554 or visit text INFo to 205-289-3554 or visit

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Dock What’s this new diesel engine oil I’m hearing about? You are probably hearing or reading about a new API category in development for heavy duty diesel engine oils. This new category, currently referred to as Proposed Category 11 (or PC-11), is under By Dan Arcy Shell Lubricants development as you read this. So what is it and why are things changing? In simple terms, when engine technologies change we often see a new oil category introduced. This was true in October 2006 when the current API CJ-4 category was launched. At that time, we needed to work with new technologies like diesel particulate filters and the anticipated higher operating temperatures of some engines. In the past, changes were typically driven by reducing particulate matter and NOx emissions. However the driver for this round of changes is a little different. Truck manufacturers are adapting their technology to develop next-generation diesel engines to meet emissions, renewable fuel and fuel economy standards, as well as to meet CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions mandates due to be introduced in the next few years. PC-11 will be a significant undertaking for the industry not just in North America but also globally. The engine manufacturers have to respond to new regulation such as renewable fuels mandates, on and off-road exhaust emission and greenhouse gas emission standards. There are also changes to the hardware and operating strategies of engines which can introduce factors such as: increased power density, increased combustion and injection pressure, increased in-cylinder NOx reduction, higher oil temperatures and wear resistance coatings. As an industry we must keep pace with such developments and of course, give the market the products that it needs. This is why the American Petroleum Institute, Shell Lubricants and others in the industry are looking to provide changes in the new oils that include improvements in oxidation stability, aeration benefits, shear stability, biodiesel compatibility and scuffing/adhesive wear protection. This will mean developing new engine tests and modifying existing engine tests for deposits and oil. The development of this specification is well underway and the planned launch is early 2016. We’ll keep you updated on developments for the new specification and the next generation of ® Shell Rotella engine oil products.

This monthly column is brought to you by Shell Lubricants. Got a question? Visit, call 1- 800 - 231- 6950 or write to The ANSWER COLumN, 1001 Fannin, Ste. 500, Houston,TX 77002. The term “Shell Lubricants” refers to the various Shell Group companies engaged in the lubricants business.




Doe’s trailer dinged by dock door


ick of spinning his duals on snow and ice-covered roads in the Northeast, trucker John Doe happily accepted the task of delivering a load of colorful belly boards and swimwear to the Supreme Surfer Supermarket in Cocoa Beach, Fla. Now, days later, he was almost to his destination, sitting proudly behind the wheel of a beautiful, powerful new conventional with bright red paint, highly-polished aluminum wheels, chrome stacks, an ample supply of fresh celery sticks and a soul-stimulating stereo that “probably could blow out the windshield,” he mused. Life was good. Before long, it’d be warm enough at home to crank up his ol’ Harley Sportster, plant tomatoes, do some bass fishing, sight-in the new scope on his Winchester and start restoring the rusty 1968 GTX 440 Magnum John Doe began backing convertible he’d purchased from Joe his trailer under a motorBob at Asa Sharp’s garage in Tupelo. driven rollup dock door, which unexpectedly began Let’s see, turn right on this road, to roll down and hit the top go three blocks and … hey, there it is, rear of his trailer. Was this dead ahead, the Supreme Surfer Sua preventable accident? permarket! After waiting for another trucker to exit the dock by passing under a motor-driven rollup door, Doe began backing his trailer, cautiously eyeballing his mirrors. What the … ??? Oh no!!! The rollup door began to roll down … fast … and … WHUMP! … hit the top rear of his trailer! An agitated store manager suddenly materialized and yelled at Doe to pull forward, but that maneuver ripped the dock door into itty-bitty pieces, earning Doe a preventable-accident warning letter, which he contested. Asked to render a final decision, the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee immediately ruled in Doe’s favor. There was no way that Doe could have anticipated or escaped the door’s dastardly descent, NSC said.

KEEP YOUR BUSINESS IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL WITH SHELL LUBRICANTS SERVICES. Protect your business with the proven performance of Shell Lubricants and our wide portfolio of business and maintenance services. Maximizing fleet uptime and minimizing operation costs is key for your success. That’s why we work with our customers to deliver the products and services that can adapt to the ever-changing maintenance and lubrication requirements of fleets. Shell Shell Shell Shell

LubeAnalyst helps you monitor your equipment performance LubeMatch offers recommendations for optimized lubrication LubeVideoCheck allows assessment of your internal engine condition LubeExpert provides on-site application support and inspections

Ask your Shell Lubricants Representative for more information on a customized product-and-service recommendation for your equipment. Contact us today at 1-800-231-6950 or visit us online at


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“The term “Shell Lubricants” collectively refers to the companies of Royal Dutch Shell plc that are engaged in the lubricants business.”

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