Category: Trucking News

22 Nov by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

Proper Inflation is Elementary

<img width="150" src="http://www.automotive-fleet.com/fc_images/articles/m-inflation-2.jpg" border="0" alt="

Bendix SmarTire monitoring system's sensors are installed on the wheel, inside the tire, where they're protected from road damage – something appreciated at Boyle Transportation. Photo: Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems

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Bendix SmarTire monitoring system's sensors are installed on the wheel, inside the tire, where they're protected from road damage – something appreciated at Boyle Transportation. Photo: Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems

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Keeping tires properly inflated is elementary to good maintenance, and products that aid in that quest can be valuable.

“In tractors, anything that keeps air in the tires makes tires last longer and stay on the road” is a plus, explains Ben Curtis, fleet manager at Boyle Transportation, Bellerica, Massachusetts, which transports security-sensitive and hazmat cargo. “And trailers are often ignored.” That's why Boyle has used tire inflation systems on trailers since 2001 and a monitoring system on tractors since 2009.

Curtis tends to order the Hendrickson TireMaax Pro on trailers with Hendrickson axles and suspensions, and the Meritor Tire Pressure Inflation System by P.S.I. on others. He likes the fact that the Meritor/P.S.I. system can alert you to a hot wheel end. While noting that the latest TireMaax systems are relatively trouble-free and that he gets great support from the company, he's not as wild about the fact that TireMaax reduces air pressure when tires get hot. “I don't want it to let air out,” he says. “It lets out about 10 pounds. I don't know how much of an advantage that gives you.”

The advantage, Hendrickson explains, is longer tire life. Over-inflation can happen when hot air expands inside the tire.

“Over-inflated tires are harder than properly inflated tires, making them more susceptible to tread surface cutting, punctures and impact breaks,” explains Tiona Campbell, a program manager at Hendrickson. “Over-inflation also changes a tire's footprint, which can affect tire traction and lead to irregular wear patterns. TMC Recommended Practice RP 219B, Radial Tire Wear Conditions and Causes, indicates that the probable cause of excessive wear found on both shoulder ribs of trailer tires ...Read the rest of this story

22 Nov by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

Trucking Conditions Index Reflects Tightening Capacity

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Source: FTR

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Source: FTR

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FTR's September Trucking Conditions Index shows a reading of 5.47, down somewhat from August's reading.

Despite the downward move, FTR said that an overall positive trend in the index reflects a "modest" tightening in capacity, related to regulations set to take effect in 2017.

Tightening capacity should improve pricing and margins for carriers through the end of next year, FTR expects. The TCI is projected to reach its peak in late 2017 or early 2018.

“The presidential election results have created some uncertainty in the market, mainly due to the lack of political and legislative experience from President-elect Trump,” said Jonathan Starks, chief operating officer of FTR. “There are certainly several areas where the new administration could make an impact on the marketplace - with regulations being the chief area of presidential power in that regard.”

FTR also has examined the effect of the election results on trucking conditions.

“We will learn more in the upcoming weeks and months as the administration's team is finalized and the legislative and regulatory agenda is cemented,” said Starks. “I wouldn't look for any significant impacts to the U.S. economy until relatively late in 2017. The U.S. economy should continue to grow - and trucking will grow slowly with it.”

Related: FTR: Trump Impact Minimal in Short Term

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22 Nov by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

Toyota Eyeing Heavy-Duty Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Technology

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Image courtesy of Toyota

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Image courtesy of Toyota

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Toyota is exploring using hydrogen fuel-cell technology in heavy-duty vehicles to create a zero-emissions solution for the commercial trucking industry.

The company announced that it will conduct a study of a heavy-duty truck sized fuel cell vehicle and the technology's scalability. But it provided no additional details of its plan, saying only that more details would be announced in the coming months.

Toyota currently offers a commercially available hydrogen fuel cell vehicle with the Toyota Mirai. Hydrogen fuel cells generate electricity by combining hydrogen with oxygen to create a chemical reaction and are emissions-free, producing only water as a byproduct of the reaction.

Toyota is not the first company to explore hydrogen fuel cell use in heavy-duty trucks. Notably, startup Nikola Motor Company announced that its forthcoming Nikola One Class 8 Truck would be powered by the technology. Nikola has already taken reservations for the truck and is set to unveil the model in December.

Nikola company claims an operating range of 800 to 1,200 miles on a single fill up. Part of Nikola's strategy involves building out a network of over 50 hydrogen stations for customers by 2020.

Related: Nikola Chooses Hydrogen Fuel Cell to Power Emissions-Free Truck

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22 Nov by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

Truck Tonnage Down Slightly in October

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Source: ATA

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Source: ATA

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The American Trucking Associations' advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index contracted by 0.3% in October, following a 6.3% drop during September.

In October, the index equaled 131.6, down from 131.9 in September and was well below the all-time high reading of 144 in February of this year. Compared to October 2015, the index shrank by 0.9%, the second straight year-over-year decline. However, year-to-date, compared to 2015, tonnage was actually up 2.5%.

“Retail sales, housing starts, and even factory output all improved in October, which is a good sign,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “Most importantly, there has been considerable progress made in clearing out excess stocks throughout the supply chain. While that correction is still ongoing, there has been enough improvement that the negative drag on tonnage shouldn't be as large going forward.”

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before being seasonally adjusted, equaled 138.2, which was 1.9% above the previous month at 135.6.

“While seasonally adjusted tonnage fell, meaning the not seasonally adjusted gain wasn't as large as expected, the bottom of the current tonnage cycle should be near,” said Costello. “There are some recent trends that suggest truck freight should improve, albeit gradually, soon.”

Related: Economic Growth Springs Back to Life

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