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FTR, ACT Research report disappointing November Class 8 order results



Tim Denoyer, ACT’s vice president and senior analyst, said the freight market downturn worsened in the past month and uncertainty surrounding trade and tariffs continue to weigh on truck buyers’ psyches. (Courtesy: ACT RESEARCH)

The two companies known for their collection and analysis of trucking industry information reported a drop in Class 8 orders.

FTR reported preliminary North American Class 8 orders for November at a “disappointing 17,300 units, down 21% from October.” It was the lowest November total since 2015 and was 39% lower than the same month a year ago, FTR said.

ACT Research noted that North American Class 8 orders failed to sustain momentum created in October.

ACT Research Preliminary North America Class 8 net order data show the industry booked 17,500 units in November, down 20% from October,

FTR said fleets remained extremely cautious heading into 2020, placing small orders and not extending orders much beyond the first quarter.  A couple OEMs reported decent order activity, but total orders fell below expectations. Class 8 orders for the past 12 months have now totaled 180,000 units.

“The fall order season has gotten off to a slow start. Freight growth has stalled from the high rates of last year,” said Don Ake, vice president commercial vehicles. “This is causing fleets to be much more measured in their ordering for 2020. There still will be plenty of freight to haul, so we expect fleets will continue to be profitable and to replace older equipment. However, there won’t be a need for much additional equipment on the roads.”

Ake said there was still a great deal of uncertainty in the environment which is creating apprehension in the trucking industry. Manufacturing has receded for four straight months, slowing economic growth. The trade war and tariffs are destabilizing prices and supply chains. And the tumultuous political climate just adds to an uneasy mix. The industry thrives on stability, but we are now on a rocky road.”

Tim Denoyer, ACT’s vice president and senior analyst, said the freight market downturn worsened in the past month and uncertainty surrounding trade and tariffs continue to weigh on truck buyers’ psyches.

“With rising pressure on carrier profits from the combined impact of lower rates and the recent, rather sudden jump in insurance premia, recent events have not developed in the industry’s favor,” Denoyer said. “While private fleets continue to add capacity on the retail end, the market is increasingly heeding for-hire price signals and the stage is being set to right-size the fleet, bringing it closer to equilibrium with the work to be done.”

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The Truck Boss Show – Liability Insurance Insight



Truck Boss team talks about how truckers are giving for the holidays, cargo theft statistics, liability insurance changes and teams up with the guys of Speed Garage for a cab replacement.

Courtesy: The Truck Boss Show 

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Dart Transit names Dave Ables as new president & CEO



Dave Ables brings 25 years of transportation experience to his new position at Dart, serving in executive leadership positions for the past six years with truckload carrier PAM Transport. Prior to his appointment with Dart, Ables was vice president of operations & marketing for all 13 operating divisions at PAM Transport. (Courtesy: DART TRANSIT CO.)

EAGAN, Minn. — Dart Transit Co., in its 85th year as a nationwide transportation service provider, has appointment of Dave Ables as the company’s new president and CEO. Chosen through an extensive national search process that was overseen by Dart Chairman Donald G. Oren, Ables will be responsible for directing the day-to-day operations of Dart. He will lead Dart’s management team, and report directly to Oren, who will continue his daily involvement in the overall operation of the company that the Oren family has owned since its founding in 1934.

Ables brings 25 years of transportation experience to his new position at Dart, serving in executive leadership positions for the past six years with truckload carrier PAM Transport. Prior to his appointment with Dart, Ables was vice president of operations & marketing for all 13 operating divisions at PAM Transport.

“We focused our search on finding an executive leader with the right depth and breadth of experience within all of Dart’s markets and facets,” Oren said. “In Dave Ables, we found the right person who possesses the full range of skills and values needed to continue to move our organization forward. Over his career in transportation, Dave has established an impressive track record of success, and I am confident that Dave will bring valuable insights and innovative approaches that will benefit our entire organization and all our customers. In reviewing his experience and during the interview process, we were particularly impressed with the leadership Dave has exhibited within the truckload market, and his ability to work well with employees, owner-operators, customers and the community alike. In our view, he has the right mix of experience working with all aspects of operations, customer service and sales, and he will be a high-quality leader for Dart.”

In addition to his time with PAM, Ables held truckload leadership positions with other major carriers including Barr-Nunn, CRST and Stevens Transport. Oren and the Dart management team also took note of Ables’ prior experience in other key areas of business currently offered through the Dart Network. In serving as the Retail Supply Chain Practice Leader for Ohio’s Global Executive Solutions, Ables oversaw strategic sourcing, global purchasing, network optimization and a variety of logistics functions. Outside of trucking, Ables has been the managing member of his family-owned hardware store as well as other small businesses.

“Dave’s expertise in logistics and supply chain solutions, along with his experience as a business owner and entrepreneur, will serve him well as the president and CEO of our company,” Oren said  “Between his wide range of career experience and the insights he shared with us, we found that Dave is an ideal fit for Dart and its variety of services, including logistics and intermodal services.

“My wife Bev and I, along with our children, David, Daniel, Bradley and Angela, are very proud of what we’ve built together at Dart, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring Dave Ables in to be Dart Transit’s president and CEO and next successful leader,”  Oren said. “We are looking forward to working with Dave in the years ahead as our entire organization stays focused on being the best service provider in the business for drivers, owner-operators, employees, technicians and customers alike.”

Ables and his wife, Lori, both have family ties to the Midwest, growing up in Iowa where Ables attended the University of Northern Iowa. They are the parents of three sons, David, Samuel and Nicholas.

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Ralph Garcia: 3 million safe miles, decades of professional and public service



Ralph Garcia, center, enjoys baseball. Here he is with his brother Don, left, and son Jake at a Colorado Rockies baseball game in Denver. (Courtesy: TRUCKING MOVES AMERICA FORWARD)

A few decades ago, a young college student stepped away from his computer engineering studies to earn some cash in a summer job. Working at a meat-packing plant provided some income, but Ralph Garcia wanted more. “To earn extra,” he said, “I took some straight truckloads of meat and found that I really liked it. In fact,” he continued, “I liked it so much I decided to make trucking my career.”

Garcia’s career has spanned nearly three decades, and he has racked up more than three million safe miles, most of them in a 27-year stint with ABF Freight System. He’s been to the White House twice, was selected as America’s Road Team Captain in 2005-06, advanced to the National Truck Driving Championship US competition 21 times along with a host of other experiences he has added to his professional driving resume. His brother also drives for ABF, joining the industry a few years after Ralph. A couple of cousins drive professionally, too. The family’s contributions to the trucking industry resulted in selection as a Trucking Moves America Forward family.

Garcia remains active in industry activities. His stint as an America’s Road Team Captain is complete, but he continues to assist and mentor newly-selected captains on their responsibilities and still participates in the ATA “Share the Road” program at schools and civic events. “I like interacting with the young drivers, getting their perspective,” he explained. “It’s kind of funny what they think about our industry from movies and the press. It’s really nice to be able to share how safe we really are.”

He’s competed in the Truck Driving Championships 27 times, advancing to the national competition on 21 occasions. In 2014, he placed first in the national competition in the 4-axle division.

In 2011, Garcia visited the White House for the first time as a part of President Obama’s “Champion of Change” team, working with Obama Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett to determine how to bring more trucking jobs to the United States. Ralph concentrated on hiring more veterans into the trucking industry, an effort that helped create hiring opportunities for veterans at ABF.

Garcia returned to the White House in 2017, this time to discuss healthcare coverage as a part of a symposium sponsored by President Trump. The group featured drivers and representatives from carriers and industry organizations.

Ralph has a “sort of” connection to another president, too. Garcia rode with a great-grandson of Dwight D. Eisenhower as well as two active senators in the Lincoln Highway Association’s 2019 Military Convoy Centennial Tour, a reenactment of Eisenhower’s 1919 event. As a young Army Tank Corps officer, Eisenhower was appalled at the grueling 62 days it took to move military equipment across the country. That experience, along with his observation of Germany’s Autobahn during World War II, helped form the basis of his proposal for a system of Interstate highways in the U.S.

Six times, Garcia has driven for the “Wreaths Across America” campaign. He bowed out of this year’s event in order to keep a promise to his wife Anita for the couple’s 40th wedding anniversary on December 12. Anita had other plans and didn’t want Ralph to miss the event entirely, so this year the couple will travel together to Washington to unload wreaths and place them at gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery.

If Garcia’s participation in these trucking activities isn’t enough, there’s more to his busy lifestyle. He stays in shape, continuing the regimen that helped him take home the U.S. power-lifting championship three times. He advises other drivers to “Eat right and stay alert,” claiming it helps on the job. “If you eat right and stay alert,” he said, “you do a good job.”

Garcia’s other off-duty activities are focused on his church. He has an associate degree in Theology / Theological studies from Victory Bible College and is active at Legacy Church’s Rio Rancho, New Mexico branch. “I think that knowing God’s word is a big influence on the way I interact with others,” he said. “I tell people I don’t work for a company, I work for God.”

A typical Sunday finds Garcia working with an audio-visual crew to bring a simulcast of the Legacy service to a local theater. A trailer containing broadcast equipment is brought to the site, and Garcia and the rest of the crew work a five-hour shift setting up and tearing down in addition to producing the broadcast itself.

Legacy Church operates multiple campuses and a pre-K through high school academy in the Albuquerque area.

Garcia credits his faith for much of his success. “It makes a difference in the results I achieve and makes me a better employee,” he explained.

He seldom used a CB radio and is a fan of ELDs because of the elimination of paperwork. He advises fellow drivers to keep up to date on the ever-changing rules and regulations that impact the industry, and he feels that each driver’s outlook can make a difference. “Adjust your attitude before getting behind the wheel,” he advises. “The job requires your full attention.”

Garcia’s attention to the things he’s passionate about, in and out of the cab of his truck, have brought him many service opportunities, and he isn’t finished yet.

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