Brian Straight

Brian
Straight
Managing Editor

Brian joined Fleet Owner in May 2008 after spending nearly 14 years as sports editor and then managing editor of several daily newspapers.  He and his staff  won more than two dozen major writing and editing awards. Responsible for editing, editorial production functions and deadlines.

Articles
Right fit 

Backed by its owner’s preferences, and lured by the low cost and green benefits of the fuel, Dillon Transport has made the leap into the world of natural gas tractors. The Burr Ridge, IL-based liquid and dry bulk carrier has taken delivery of 25 Kenworth T800s with the Cummins Westport ISX12 G natural gas engine, bringing its fleet of natural gas tractors to around 60.

Dillon has another 100 units on order, which would bring its total natural gas units to about 35% of its 450 or so trucks by the middle of 2014.

General Business: Health & taxes 

 Every business faces a myriad of challenges on its way to profitability. There are infrastructure concerns, hardware and software issues, employee management, and, of course, the  task of delivering products and services.  But regardless of the challenges faced, they are all influenced by regulations.

The rules are changing 

To say rules and regulations have an over-reaching effect on trucking operations is like saying the sky is blue.  No one will dispute it.  Yet, outside of the industry, few understand just how much regulation there is in trucking these days, and how much is still on the loading dock waiting for delivery.

Service edge 

COMPANY: The Martin-Brower Co. LLC,
Rosemont, IL

OPERATION: Global supply-chain management and distribution provider for quick-serve restaurant operations

Problem: When you service restaurants, there is a sense of urgency when making deliveries.  Too soon, and the product may not sell before it goes bad, literally dumping dollars into the dumpster.  Too late, and restaurants lose sales as hungry consumers look for a location that has the food they want.

The propane effect 

Among the considerations fleets must review before switching to an alternative fuel are vehicle miles driven in a day, total cost of ownership, infrastructure improvements, and fuel price.  For some fleets, answering that quartet of questions opens a number of possibilities.  For Lake Michigan Mailers, though, the answers led to a single conclusion.

Westport ending 15L natural gas engine production, shifting focus to OEM integration 

Westport formally announced the shutdown of 15L natural gas engine production in its latest earnings report this week. The company said it will no longer take orders for the powerplant, which features Westport’s high-pressure direct injection (HPDI) system, as of Nov. 15 of this year.

The company is not, though, abandoning its HPDI system, says Nicole Adams, director of communications.

Being progressive  1

COMPANY: Progressive Transport, Denver, NC

OPERATION: Over-the-road truckload carrier serving the U.S. and Canada, primarily focusing on locations east of the Mississippi River

 

Problem:

One bad incident can sometimes bring about necessary change.  It can put the future of any trucking fleet in jeopardy.  In the case of Progressive Transport, which operates 17 trucks with 25 drivers, it can also bring about a radical business shift.

The hard truth about oil claims 

By the time January 2016 rolls around, we should be seeing oils from the first new oil category in 10 years hitting the market.  The work being accomplished today in this category, currently called PC-11 (proposed category 11), will reap benefits for fleets for years to come.  Just how much, though, will vary, it seems, based on manufacturer and what claims you believe.

Government fatigue setting in among fleets 1

Despite some positive tax advantages to purchasing new equipment before the end of the year, the current government shutdown and expected fight over raising the debt ceiling may put the brakes on what has otherwise been a solid year for truck orders.

In fact, according to at least one expert, all the Washington in-fighting has created a level of weariness among fleets that has created a certain level of concern across their operations.

R + L Carriers avoids prosecution in illegal cigarette trafficking case

Ohio-based R + L Carriers has avoided prosecution by New York State attorneys after agreeing to a settlement over alleged shipments of illegal cigarettes into the state. The agreement was announced by the four NY State District Attorneys who investigated the allegation, Nicole Duvé of St. Lawrence County, Derek Champagne of Franklin County, David Foley of Chautauqua County, and Thomas Spota of Suffolk County.

Shell positions Rotella for “hard-working” professionals  1

HAMBURG, GERMANY. During a sitdown with North American journalists last week in Hamburg, Chris Guerrero, global brand manager for Shell Rotella, provided updates on the Rotella brand, current promotions and some exciting events coming up for the brand.

European Truck Racing Championships

Shell Oil is a primary sponsor of the FIA European Truck Championships, being held this weekend in Most, Czech Republic, at the Autodrom Most. As part of the event, Shell has brought nearly 150 guests, including North American journalists, to Prague and Most for the weekend’s festivities as part of a larger trip that also showcased Shell’s Technology Centre in Hamburg, Germany, and the Shell Rotella brand of oils sold in the U.S.

Partnerships between OEMs, lubricant suppliers key to reducing truck TCO 2

HAMBURG, GERMANY. One of the keys to providing customers with long-lasting, quality lubricants is collaboration with OEMs, said Frank Machatschek, who is responsible for Shell Oil’s cooperation with Daimler Trucks in Europe.

Machatschek spoke to a group of international journalists on Wednesday gathered at Shell’s Technology Centre, one of six such facilities worldwide, in Hamburg, Germany.

Shell: Realistic fuel economy claims benefit customers

HAMBURG, GERMANY. During a session with North American journalists here on Wednesday, Dan Arcy, global OEM technical director for Shell, and Chris Guerrero, global marketing manager for Shell, spoke of the challenges Shell faces when presenting fuel economy claims for its lubricant products.

“When you run a field trial, there are so many variables,” Guerrero said. “Part of it is educating customers on how to run a fuel trial.”

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