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.

Freight still matters 

Here’s a non-shocker from the survey world: how manufacturers develop, produce and then deliver products to their customers around the world—in essence, how well their supply chains function—is a hinge point upon which firms will live or die.

You don’t say?

Pardon me for seeming cynical here, but it continues to amaze me just how often the supply chain—and by extension the freight transport connections within it—continue to be taken for granted.

Finding drivers via friends and family

With the trucking industry short on drivers – with average age of the current driver pool skewing older and older – fleets are deploying a wider range of tactics to entice workers to pilot big rigs for living.

TCO, driver pay top focus for fleet managers

A trend analysis of fleet manager surveys conducted by global research firm Frost & Sullivan over the last half decade indicates that total cost of operation (TCO) calculations are now “front and center” and “top of mind” concerns for U.S. trucking companies – with driver wages becoming far more critical to TCO than in the past.

Class 8 orders tick up in July

Though Class orders slipped in July on a year-over-year basis, they jumped 21% compared to June – a surprising increase that analysts attribute in part to the “confidence” by larger fleets in continued North American freight market growth.

FTR Transportation Intelligence noted that its preliminary data indicates North American Class 8 truck net orders increased to 23,920 units in July, up 21% month-over-month, but down 19% versus last July. 

Tackling new cargo theft tactics

Fake trucking companies are but the latest twist to the tactics being used by criminals to steal cargo, according to Scott Cornell, director of the Specialty Investigations Group (SIG) at Travelers Insurance – twists that now include using residential homes to store ill-gotten freight.

FCA's new super-chilled 4x4 dyno test cell

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) recently spent $2.5 million to upgrade the climatic test cell at its Chrysler Technology Center (CTC) in Auburn Hills, MI, with a new "4x4" dynomometer. The "front dyno" able to handle loads of up to 350 hp while the "rear dyno" can manage up to 650 hp. The cell also received a "significant upgrade" in ductwork and exhaust capabilities to handle high-output engines such as the 2016 Ram 2500’s 6.7-liter Cummins diesel.

GM rolls out two new specialty 2016 Colorado pickup models

General Motors recently unveiled two new “specialty” versions of its 2016 model Chevrolet Colorado: the Midnight Edition and Z71 Trail Boss. Available this fall, the two models feature what GM calls “distinctly tailored appearances” that blend “custom design cues” with Colorado options and accessories. All photos courtesy of GM.

More virtual testing may help tackle GHG goals

As an array of commercial vehicle manufacturers begin to focus on how to comply with the Phase 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction mandates, more “virtual testing” of truck and trailer designs is expected to be deployed to reach the required fuel economy goals within the rules.

Caterpillar to build trucks on its own

It’s the beginning of the end for the nearly six-year truck-building partnership between Caterpillar Inc. and Navistar, as the heavy equipment maker expects to start building vocational trucks on its own beginning next year.

A glimpse inside GM's new active safety test area

General Motors recently opened a new $14 million 52-acre Active Safety Test Area at its Milford proving grounds outside Detroit, MI, where it will test new technology as well as conduct regulatory and insurance industry consumer metric tests, such as those orchestrated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Euro New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and others. All photos courtesy of GM.

Diabetes in trucking: Three things you need to know

Tom Milam, CEO of health care provider TrueLifeCare, will tell you that there are three things motor carriers and their drivers need to know about diabetes and how it impacts the trucking industry:

Using technology to downgrade crash severity

Fred Andersky will tell you that one of the overarching goals of safety systems today – from electronic stability control (ESC) to collision mitigation technology – is not only to prevent vehicle crashes but to “downgrade” the crashes that do occur, not only potentially saving lives but

Safety Testing with Bendix and UPS

United Parcel Service and Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems joined forces recently at a race track in Norwalk, OH, to demonstrate a slew of truck safety systems, from electronic stability control (ESC) to collision mitigation technology.

Testing collision mitigation technology

United Parcel Service and Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems recently held a demonstration event at the Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, OH, to show off the capabilities of various collision mitigation and safety technologies the parcel carrier is incorporating on all of its new Class 8 tractors from here on out - including the 2,600 units UPS is adding in 2015 alone. Bendix also demonstrated its latest collision mitigation system, Wingman Fusion, at the event; a system UPS is currently evaluating but not spec'ing at this time.

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