Sean Kilcarr

Senior Editor

Sean reports and comments on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry -- light and medium duty fleets up through over-the-road truckload, less-than-truckload, and private fleet operations Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

Class 8 orders down again in June

For the fourth month on a row, North American Class 8 orders declined, though analysts said that doesn’t dim the overall prospects for a “robust” market for heavy commercial trucks this year.

According to ACT Research Co., North American Class 8 orders declined 25% year-over-year to 19,900 units – the lowest monthly net order volume since September 201, noted Kenny Vieth, the firm’s president and senior analyst in a statement.

Survey indicates poor roads may be aggravating driver shortage

A new survey conducted by third party logistics company National Retail Systems (NRS) indicates that the worsening conditions of U.S. roadways may be contributing to the ongoing driver shortage, largely as delays due to road construction and repairs are affecting truck driver earnings.

New report marks growth of toll roads in U.S.

A new report issued by the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) indicates that the number of trips taken by drivers on tolls roads increased 14% over the last four years – from 5 billion trips in 2011 to 5.7 billion in 2015 – with further data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) tracking a 9% increase in overall toll road mileage within the U.S., from 5,431 miles in 2011 to over 5,932 miles as of 2013.

Ram rolls out 2016 model HD pickups

More diesel engine torque and more towing capacity are the highlights of the new 2016 model 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty (HD) pickups recently introduced by Ram Trucks, a division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).

Topping the list of improvements is a new fuel delivery calculation and turbo boost calibration for the optional Cummins 6.7-liter I-6 diesel engine offered for Ram’s HD pickup line.

Cargo theft alertness encouraged for July 4th holiday

The upcoming July 4th holiday celebrating U.S. independence is one of several holiday weekends cited as being “notorious” for higher-than-normal risk for cargo theft for motor carriers, logistics providers, and shippers alike.

GM's latest electric efforts

GM is investing $245 million in its Orion Assembly plant, located 30 miles north of Detroit, to prep it to build its new Bolt EV vehicle, which is now undergoing prototype testing at the OEM's Milford Proving Grounds in Milford, MI. As an interesting side note, GM is using old batteries from Chevy Volt EVs to help power a data center located at the Milford site as well. All photos courtesy of GM.

A Western Star sealed in glass

If you think William Kolias' 2003 Western Star looks brand new, you're not alone. Yet it's how Kolias keeps his tractor -- equipped with a Caterpillar C-15 engine mated to an 18-speed manual -- in showroom-perfect shape that's the most interesting part: it's coated in glass silicate, meaning he doesn't need to wax, buff, or polish his rig one iota. All photos courtesy of William Kolias.

Are small carriers facing extinction? 1

Increasing numbers of smaller trucking companies are foundering on the shoals of higher costs and regulatory compliance, according to data compiled for the 26th annual State of Logistics (SOL) report – issued by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) and presented by Penske Logistics.

Where are the rate increases for trucking?

One of the more perplexing issues uncovered in the 26th annual State of Logistics (SOL) report – issued by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) and presented by Penske Logistics – centers around the lack of upward movement in trucking freight rates, despite a growing lack of truck capacity across all segments of the industry – from drayage and LTL to TL.

State of Logistics: Looking good for now

The freight industry experienced a “banner year” in 2014 according to data collected and analyzed for the 26th annual State of Logistics (SOL) report – issued by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) and presented by Penske Logistics – in the face of ongoing “headwinds” such as a growing shortage of warehousing personnel and truck drivers.

Highway funding again focus of House committee meeting

The debate over how to provide a stable long-term source of funding for U.S. roadway infrastructure needs continued this week before the House of Representatives’ Ways & Means Committee, with advocates from across the transportation spectrum calling up Congress to settle on a funding mechanism and to do so soon.

GM's return to medium-duty 1

After a nearly six year absence, General Motors is planning to return to the medium-duty segment through a renewed alliance with Japan's Isuzu Motors, whereby GM will re-badge Isuzu N-Series cabover chassis with the Chevrolet logo and sell them through select Chevrolet dealerships starting in 2016. GM will offer six new models based on Isuzu's N-Series, dubbed the Chevrolet 3500, 3500HD, 4500, 4500HD, 5500 and 5500 HD, powered by either gasoline or diesel engines.

GM may begin offering medium-duty cabovers again

General Motors is apparently planning to re-enter the medium-duty truck market in 2016 via a renewed alliance with Japan’s Isuzu Motors, offering Isuzu N-Series cabover chassis re-badged with the Chevrolet nameplate.

2016 Silverado pickups to gain prognostic capability 1

Select 2016 model Chevrolet Silverado and Silverado HD pickup models are expected to be offered with a new “prognostic” maintenance capability provided via the vehicle’s OnStar 4G LTE onboard wireless network in combination with fleet management services offered by Telogis.

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