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
Filling seats the social way 

By now you have probably seen—or at least heard about— the “Epic Split” video produced by Volvo Trucks in Europe.  The viral video, which had garnered more than 65 million views on YouTube by the end of 2013 despite only being released on Nov. 14, shows actor Jean-Claude Van Damme demonstrating the precision of Volvo’s dynamic steering on its FM truck models by doing a split between two moving trucks.

Smart shipping 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Transport Partnership has had a profound effect on trucking since its debut in 2004.  The program estimates that partners in the effort have eliminated 28 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, resulting in a savings of 65 million barrels of oil and $8.1 billion in fuel costs.  If not an outright member, many trucking operations have at least adopted some fuel-saving initiatives verified by the program.

Obama pushes infrastructure investment, aims to slash red tape

Saying that he will use executive actions when appropriate, President Barack Obama promised to slash the red tape holding back infrastructure projects in this country during his fifth State of the Union address last night. He also reiterated his administration’s promise to implement further fuel efficiency targets for heavy-duty trucks beyond the current regulations that begin phasing in this year.

Evolution-ary efforts 

Seventy-five years ago, Herbert Wolding was traveling around central Wisconsin making milk deliveries with his one-man trucking operation.  Today, at 101 years of age, while no longer traveling the roads of Wisconsin, Wolding still drives to the office each day to keep tabs on the company that he founded, H.O. Wolding.

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.

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