Sean Kilcarr

Executive 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.

Breaking down Project Portal 1

Officially unveiled this week in California, Toyota’s “Project Portal” is a fully-functional zero-emission Class 8 concept truck that runs on electricity generated by a hydrogen-fired fuel cell. It’s designed for drayage operations and will be part of a “feasibility study” that begins this summer at the Port of Los Angeles. It's also a vehicle that can out-accelerate a diesel-powered tractor, as the video below demonstrates.

Saluting the Dirt Boyz

It’s one of the most unforgiving jobs in the U.S. Air Force: serving with the “Dirt Boyz,” the name given for airmen working in the pavement and equipment shops at Air Force bases around the world. They’re known as “Dirt Boyz” because of their close relationship with grimy terrain and messy construction materials. As experts in all types of heavy machinery, such as road graders, bulldozers, dump trucks, excavators and front end loaders, they put in long, arduous hours in often brutal weather to maintain base airfields, roads, fences and drainage systems.

Roadside inspections: It’s the feedback loop that matters 1

Michael Riemer, vice president of product and channel marketing for Decisiv Inc., will tell you that there is a difference between “big data” and “lots of data” because, in many cases, fleets have lots of data that’s actually of poor quality – and it’s that type of low-grade, inaccurate data that can trip up their

Meeting with a Metris

Fleet Owner got to test drive a Mercedes Benz 2017 model Metris passenger van 216 for a week, and while its mission is to carry people, not cargo, the same chassis, engine, safety systems and other features are shared between by both the passenger and cargo versions of the Metris. (All photos by Sean Kilcarr for Fleet Owner)

Building a global automated transmission strategy

The formation of Eaton Cummins Automated Transmission Technologies announced by Eaton Corp. and truck engine partner Cummins Inc. this – a new 50/50 joint venture to build automated mechanical transmissions (AMTs) for heavy- and medium-duty commercial vehicles – is part of an effort by the two companies to begin building market share with a style of powertrain that’s in high demand.

Two new Ram sport pickup models

Ram Truck, a division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA LLLC), recently took the wraps off two new factory-built custom “sport model” versions of its Ram 1500 pickups at the New York Auto Show.

The first is the Ram 1500 Sublime Sport, priced at $45,740, with an unusual green monochromatic exterior plus black highlights and wheels. Only 3,000 of these Sublime Sport models will be built, Ram noted.

Knight: Merger an opportunity that couldn’t be passed by

Kevin Knight, executive chairman of TL carrier Knight Transportation and in line to fulfill the same role of the joint company to be formed by Knight’s proposed merger with Swift Transportation, believes the “moon and stars aligned” for this deal to occur and expects it will help position both motor carriers to benefit from expected capacity tightening at the end of the year and on into 2018.

Maintenance Bay: Analyzing tire data 

Manager: Trent Siemens, director of fleet maintenance
Company: Paul’s Hauling Ltd., Winnipeg, Canada
Operation: Bulk transporter operating 250 tractors and 600 trailers out of four terminals

Class 8 orders in March higher than expected

Class 8 net orders reached 22,800 units in March, according to data tracked by research firm FTR Transportation Intelligence – slightly above expectations and much higher than a year ago for the third consecutive month.

Though Class 8 net order volumes were essentially flat month-over-month, Don Ake, FTR’s vice President of commercial vehicles, noted they were up 41% year-over-year in March with order backlogs now close to where they were a year ago.

Tracking trends affecting trucking’s future

BONITA SPRINGS, FL. More change has occurred in the last 20 years than at any time in human history, according to Scott Perry, chief technology and procurement officer for Ryder System Inc., and that lightning-fast pace is being acutely felt in the trucking industry right now, especially in terms of connectivity, the ongoing development of alternative fuels, and the deployment of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology.

2017 Fleet of the Year Awards 

Each year, Fleet Owner’s editors gather annually to discuss a select group of nominees to be considered for our Fleet of the Year awards. There is no formal nomination or application process for these awards. Our editors interact with hundreds of fleets over the course of the year and while all have valuable stories to tell, a few simply stand out from the rest—for their management skills, for their successes, and most of all, for their innovative approaches to excellence in fleet operations.

Your truck just got placed out of service. Now what? 1

No one wants their tractor-trailer put out-of-service (OOS) for a vehicle violation following a roadside inspection. But as a paraphrase of the great poet Robert Burns illustrates, “even the best-laid plans of mice and men go awry,” and for that reason you need a plan already in place to figure out how to correct an OOS vehicle violation in order to get your rig back on the road.

Wrapping up the TCA convention

NASHVILLE. The final day of the 2017 Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) annual convention tackled major industry topics, touching on the outlook for the U.S. freight market, examining the potential timeline for automated trucks, and how to attract more women into trucking’s ranks, while announcing several major awards – including those recognizing the “Best Fleets to Drive For” in North America as well as one truck driver’s singular act of heroism.

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