David Cullen

Executive Editor

David Cullen offers his take on how actions taken by government agencies, industry suppliers and other trucking stakeholders impact truck fleet owners.

Articles by David Cullen
Cummins keys in on fuel-efficiency gains, adds ISX15 rating and reveals development of telematics application

LOUISVILLE, KY. Cummins Inc. executives discussed the engine maker’s latest fuel-efficiency improvements as well a new heavy-duty engine rating and the rollout of Connected Diagnostics— a “telematics-assisted application”-- here Tuesday evening ahead of the Mid-America Trucking Show.

According to Cummins, taken together the announcements “confirm its commitment to customers in the heavy-duty truck market.”

Fuel efficiency

TBB: February used-truck prices a positive harbinger

Rising prices recorded last month for used medium- and heavy-duty trucks paint a positive picture of the resale market in the first quarter as well as for the year ahead, per the Commercial Truck Monthly Report for February just released by The Truck Blue Book (TBB).

Fleets relay positive results of deploying electronic logs

Executives of two fleets that have implemented electronic logging devices (ELDs) are finding that adopting the technology voluntarily is benefitting their operations by boosting the productivity of drivers and back-office personnel; reducing Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) roadside violations; and enhancing driver recruitment and retention.

U.S. economy, freight volumes offer some optimistic signs

More positive than negative indicators seem to be in the mix for both the overall economy and truck-based freight tonnage as the U.S. begins to climb out of a harsher-than-normal winter experienced by many parts of the country.

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) reported that its for-hire truck tonnage index increased 2.8% in February after plunging an adjusted 4.5% January. However, year-to-date volume when compared with the same period in 2013 indicates that tonnage is up 2.3% overall, noted Bob Costello, ATA’s chief economist.

CSA: Check it in the shop 

Shop talk—the best kind, anyway—has always revolved as much around safe operations as vehicle uptime and cost control.  But since the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rolled out its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) compliance program, fleet owners have had to absolutely ensure that their maintenance personnel are walking the walk and not just talking the talk.

Sprinter 4x4 headed here next year 

INDIANAPOLIS.  Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC revealed that it will make a “segment-exclusive” four-wheel-drive system available in the U.S. next year on its 2015 model-year Sprinter commercial vans, which are sold by authorized Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner dealers.  The announcement was made here at the NTEA Work Truck Show.

GM, Telogis partnering on fleet telematics solution 

INDIANAPOLIS.  General Motors has partnered with Telogis, Inc. to offer fleet customers a new telematics solution, it was announced here at the NTEA Work Truck Show.

According to GM, the solution will “provide actionable data to help control costs, increase safety and enhance fleet operations.” 

Mitsubishi Fuso debuts higher-GVW Class 3 truck 

INDIANAPOLIS. Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America, Inc. (MFTA) rolled out its new Canter FE130 Class 3 truck here at the NTEA Work Truck Show.

The OEM said the new model increases the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and boosts body/payload capacity by 700 lbs compared to the FE125 model it replaces.

Big Brown to pour green into propane 

INDIANAPOLIS.  UPS announced it will invest some $70 million to deploy propane-autogas (LPG) power in its fleet of distinctive “package car” medium-duty delivery vans at a news conference here at the NTEA Work Truck Show.

The package-delivery giant said its investment plan calls for the purchase of 1,000 propane-fueled trucks as well as installing an initial 50 LPG fueling stations at UPS locations in the U.S.

Green Trucking: Choices for fleets yet abound 

INDIANAPOLIS. Speakers here on a kickoff panel of the annual Green Truck Summit, held in conjunction with this week’s NTEA Work Truck Show, made one thing voice clear—alternative fuels for trucking will remain a matter of considerable choice, and for years to come.

Ford rolls out ‘all new’ medium-duty lineup

INDIANAPOLIS. Ford Motor Co. took the wraps off its redesigned F-650 and F-750 medium-duty lineup— including a dedicated tractor model aimed at heavy-towing applications— here on the eve of the NTEA Work Truck Show.

DAT: Spot-market van rate spikes

DAT has reported that during the week ending Feb. 22, the national average spot-market van rate reached a peak of $1.98 per mile. That rate, per DAT Trendlines, a composite of the firm’s network of load boards, was 13% higher compared to the same week in 2013

That dizzying performance, according to DAT, was driven by growing load volume (up 12% that week) as well as a rise in tighter available capacity (up 3.3%) and remains in the company’s estimation “unseasonably high.”

Lack of infrastructure funding hitting counties hard

In an extensive newly released report, the National Association of Counties (NACo) argues that both federal and state funding and financing of county-owned transportation infrastructure is “increasingly inadequate” within the 48 states that have a county-government system (Connecticut and Rhode Island are the exceptions).

UPDATED: Navistar to consolidate mid-range engine production at one plant
Describing the decision as “an important next step in its turnaround efforts,” Navistar International Corp. has said it will consolidate manufacturing of its MaxxForce mid-range engines at one plant.
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