Sean Kilcarr

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.

Articles
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? 1

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.

NHTSA: marginal decline in 2014 traffic fatalities

Based on an initial statistical analysis conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic fatalities “marginally declined” by a scant 0.1% in 2014 compared to 2013.

The agency said an estimated 32,675 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes last year compared to the 32,719 fatalities that occurred in 2013, accompanied by a sharp spike in fatalities in the fourth quarter of 2014 (up 5%) compared to declines of 3.9%, 0.2%, and 1.9% in the first, second, and third quarters, respectively.

Onboard coach 

Company: G&P Trucking Inc., Gaston, SC

Operation: TL carrier serving the southeastern and southwestern U.S. and Mexico with a fleet of 700 tractors

Problem:

Driver retention continues to be a thorny issue in every segment of the trucking business, and it can positively or negatively affect a carrier’s CSA score.

That’s why retention will continue to be an important topic in trucking, notes John Billingsley, director of safety and training for G&P Trucking.

The AGM solution 

Manager: David Baker

Title: Vice president of maintenance

Company: Boyd Bros. Transportation Inc., Clayton, AL

Operation: Nationwide flatbed carrier operating 2,500 trucks, including 1,050 conventional tractors and 1,670 48-ft. flatbed trailers

Problem:

Sleep tight: Helping drivers rest 

The human need for sleep is simply not optional. It is as important as the air we breathe.

“Sleep is a necessity, as essential as food and oxygen,” explains Nancy Rothstein, director of corporate sleep programs for fatigue risk management firm Circadia. “Irrefutable scientific evidence reveals that the one-third of our lives that we spend sleeping profoundly impacts the two-thirds we spend awake. Thus, sleep is critical to virtually all aspects of our functioning and affects the performance, safety and health of every member of your workforce.”

SAF-Holland introduces new mechanical trailer suspension

Touted to provide an air suspension-like ride and weight savings of up to 125 lbs., SAF-Holland hopes its new ULX40 UltraLite mechanical trailer suspension will help re-attract fleets to mechanical suspensions not only for dry van trailers but for other applications as well.

A visit to SAF-Holland's Muskegon facility

SAF-Holland recently introduced a new mechanical trailer suspension, the ULX40, during a special press event at its North American headquarters, located in Muskegon, MI. The company also provided a tour of its two engineering laboratories and manufacturing operations at its Muskegon location, where it builds mostly truck suspensions and fifth wheel assemblies. All photos by Fleet Owner magazine.

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