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Volvo Trucks celebrates 35 years of innovation and aerodynamic truck design in North America

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2018 marks the 35th anniversary of Volvo’s 1983 introduction of the Integral Sleeper, the first North American truck model to offer a modern, streamlined design and integrated sleeper compartment. With the 1983 introduction, Volvo set a new North American design standard since followed by all heavy-duty manufacturers. (Courtesy: VOLVO TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — This year marks the 35th anniversary of Volvo’s introduction of the Integral Sleeper, the first North American conventional truck model to offer a modern, streamlined design and a fully integrated sleeper compartment.

“Pioneering innovations in design, fuel efficiency, driver productivity and safety have defined Volvo Trucks throughout our 90-year history,” said Magnus Koeck, Volvo Trucks North America vice president, marketing and brand management. “We’re proud of our heritage and celebrate 35 years of aerodynamic design. With the Integral Sleeper model we truly introduced a new standard and all manufacturers quickly followed suit, a trend we continue to see today with automated manual transmissions, greater integration of connectivity services to help maximize uptime, and right-sizing of engines for improved fuel efficiency and weight savings.”

Koeck  said the Integral Sleeper was the first modern conventional model to unite the cab and sleeper compartments for improved aerodynamics with seamless body-in-white construction that also allowed easy pass-through from the driving environment to the living space.

The redefined truck design further defied industry-wide design conventions of the time, introducing a hood that was six inches narrower and six inches lower at the front than at the cowl, to help reduce wind resistance, he said, adding that the Integral Sleeper aerodynamics were further boosted through a full-height roof fairing, cab side extenders, chassis fairings and trim tabs that helped air flow smoothly from the tractor to the trailer.

“Over the past year we’ve introduced the new Volvo VNR regional haul, Volvo VNL long-haul, and Volvo VNL heavy-haul tractors under the theme ‘The Shape of Trucks to Come,’ which also would have been very appropriate during the 1983 introduction of the Integral Sleeper, a model that inspired a design revolution for conventional model trucks,” Koeck said. “Each of our on-highway models, the new VNR, VNL, and VNX, bring efficiency through their streamlined shapes. Even regional haul and heavy-haul trucks spend time at highway speeds when aerodynamics become increasingly important.”

Koeck sais to complement its legendary cabs, made with high strength steel, Volvo, inventors of the three-point safety belt, became the first Class 8 truck brand in North America to designate a steering wheel-mounted driver’s side airbag as standard equipment. As active safety technologies mature Volvo has maintained a leadership role, introducing Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology (VEST), an enhanced stability system, as standard equipment for its on-highway lineup in 2007.

“Volvo aspires to zero crashes and zero injuries, helping protect drivers and all road users,” said Johan Agebrand, director of product marketing for Volvo Trucks North America. “Our global Zero Accident Vision is about helping improve safety, and mitigating these events also presents a tremendous cost savings to truck owners.”

Volvo’s July 2017 introduction of the new VNL model also brought Volvo Active Driver Assist featuring Bendix Wingman Fusion as a standard offering, making Volvo Trucks the first heavy-duty truck OEM to offer the active safety system as standard equipment, a designation also applied to the new Volvo VNR series. The system is also integrated with VEST to help drivers avoid rollover, jackknife, and loss-of-control situations on dry, wet, snow- and ice-covered roadways.

Like the conventional model design change sparked by the Integral Sleeper, Volvo also ushered in a shift in transmission preference in North America, Agebrand said. First to market in North America with a proprietary automated manual transmission (AMT), Volvo paved the way for AMTs to receive wide acceptance. In just over a decade since its North American introduction the Volvo I-Shift is now spec’d in more than 90 percent of  all trucks built for the market and is standard across the Volvo VNR, VNL, VNX, VHD and VAH product range.

“While we still offer manual transmissions, it’s increasingly difficult to justify their use, even for the most demanding jobs,” said John Moore, Volvo Trucks North America product marketing manager – powertrain. “We truly have an I-Shift for every application, whether it’s regional, long-haul, or even heavy loads with our 14-speed I-Shift with Crawler Gears supporting gross weights up to 225,000 lbs. Regardless of the application, the I-Shift consistently performs at its best, whether it is two hours or ten hours into a job.”

An industry innovator in factory-installed connectivity, Volvo Trucks today includes its connectivity hardware as standard equipment across its entire North American product range. The connectivity hardware provides access to Remote Diagnostics, which provides proactive diagnostics and monitoring of critical engine, transmission and aftertreatment trouble codes. Volvo also uses the standard onboard connectivity hardware in partnership with best-in-class fleet management providers. Volvo’s standard, factory-installed hardware allows customers to perform software and parameter updates over-the-air with Remote Programming, which helps improve uptime and vehicle efficiency, while reducing downtime costs.

“We’re in an exciting period when it comes to truck technology, and the speed of change is only accelerating,” said Agebrand. “It’s easy to get caught up in the technology revolution, but we must keep in mind the industry’s journey and the transformative designs and innovations that will continue to sculpt the shape of trucks to come.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spot rates, volumes stay firm after International Roadcheck

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Reefer markets with load-to-truck ratios above 20 to 1 last week included Tallahassee, Florida; Albuquerque, New Mexico, Amarillo, Texas; El Paso, Texas; and Lubbock, Texas. (Courtesy: DAT TRENDLINES)

PORTLAND, Ore. — The number of truck posts on the spot truckload freight market jumped 14% during the week ending June 16, said DAT Solutions, which operates the industry’s largest load board network.

The increase is in line with expectations following CVSA’s International Roadcheck, the annual enforcement initiative, which tends to have a dampening effect on available capacity.

With the number of load posts down 10% last week, load-to-truck ratios declined for all three equipment types.

Still, national average spot rates were above May averages, and van and refrigerated freight volumes were each up nearly 20% compared to the previous week.

National average spot rates through June 16 were:

  • Van: $1.90/mile, 11 cents higher than the May average
  • Reefer: $2.26/mile, 11 cents higher
  • Flatbed: $2.32/mile, 4 cents higher

Van trends

The national average van load-to-truck ratio dipped from 3.8 to 3.0 and rates were lower on 61 of the top 100 van lanes by volume. However, several major van markets including Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, and Chicago were up significantly in terms of available loads.

Demand was strong in the Southeast and West. The average outbound van rate from Memphis, Tennessee, was up 8 cents to $2.33/mile, as was Los Angeles at $2.31/mile. Van lanes with gains included:

  • Memphis to Columbus, Ohio, up 24 cents to $2.23/mile
  • Stockton, California., to Portland, Oregon, up 18 cents to $2.86/mile
  • Los Angeles to Seattle, up 15 cents to $2.72/mile
  • Charlotte to Buffalo, up 15 cents to $2.54/mile

It’s almost always good news when rates rise in both directions on lanes in the same region of the country, as they did on a handful of van lanes that connect Memphis, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Atlanta. Memphis to Charlotte paid $2.16/mile, up 6 cents, and Charlotte to Memphis paid $1.65, up 3 cents, for a roundtrip average of $1.91/mile. That’s up 9 cents compared to the previous week.

Even when rates dropped in one direction, the roundtrips improved over the previous week’s averages. Memphis to Atlanta went for $2.50, up 10 cents, but Atlanta to Memphis paid $1.86/mile, down 3 cents. The roundtrip average was $2.18, up 7 cents compared to the previous week.

Reefer trends

While the national average reefer load-to-truck ratio dropped from 6.4 to 4.5, volumes increased out of both California and Texas, signs that produce season is on. Average outbound reefer rates were higher in Sacramento, California ($2.76/mile), Ontario, California, ($2.80/mile), and Fresno, California ($2.46/mile) — three of the top four California markets (Los Angeles fell 2 cents to $2.93/mile).

Freight volumes were up more than 40% out of Nogales, Arizona, on the Mexico border. The largest reefer lane-rate increase was Nogales to Dallas, up 49 cents to $3.36/mile.

DAT Trendlines is a weekly snapshot of month-to-date national average rates from DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. The RateView database is comprised of more than $60 billion in freight payments. DAT load boards average 1.2 million load posts searched per business day.

For the latest spot market loads and rate information, visit www.dat.com/trendlines and follow @LoadBoards on Twitter.

 

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Cargo Transporters initiates Acres of Diamonds…Focus on Home Program

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With Acres of Diamonds…Focus on Home, Cargo Transporters makes it possible for drivers to get home in less time when their shift ends or to stay home for a few more hours before reporting to work. (Courtesy: CARGO TRANSPORTERS)

CLAREMONT, N.C. — Cargo Transporters, an asset-based transportation operation, Tuesday introduced its Acres of Diamonds…Focus on Home Program.

The new recruiting and retention initiative will allow drivers to be closer to home when they finish a shift or have downtime in their schedules, and to take part in community and company events, according to COO Jerry Sigmon Jr.

“Acres of Diamonds…Focus on Home is aimed at lowering our already low turnover rate of 42% because we believe that drivers who live in or near our terminal communities are more likely to stay with the company,” Sigmon said. “Just as importantly, the recruiting and retention campaign reflects our corporate culture that has always embraced the importance of focusing on home, family and community. By carrying that same way of thinking over to our drivers we know they will be more likely to stay with us.”

With Acres of Diamonds…Focus on Home, Sigmon said Cargo Transporters makes it possible for drivers to get home in less time when their shift ends or to stay home for a few more hours before reporting to work. In addition, if there is a schedule change or scheduled vehicle maintenance, drivers who live closer to a terminal can go home and relax with their families.

As part of the program, Cargo Transporters is offering a $2,500 bonus to any employee who refers a driver located near its terminal locations in Claremont, Rocky Mount and Charlotte, North Carolina.

The name Acres of Diamonds refers to a motivational lecture by Russell Conwell, a popular public speaker in the 1800s. The story is about the misfortunes of seeking opportunities elsewhere instead of focusing on your own backyard.

“Acres of Diamonds was mentioned by one of our drivers in an employee survey,” Sigmon said. “As soon as we heard its message about being open to the opportunities that are around us, we knew we needed to quit focusing on a national level and focus on hiring locally.”

Based in Claremont, North Carolina, Cargo Transporters, Inc is an asset-based, transportation operation with 48-state intrastate and interstate common and contract authority. Cargo Transporters operates a fleet of 525 trucks and 1,700 trailers, and employs over 700 people.

For more information, visit www.cargotransporters.com.

 

 

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ATA truck tonnage index declines 6.1% in May

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ARLINGTON, Va. — American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 6.1% in May after jumping 7% in April. In May, the index equaled 114 (2015=100) compared with 121.4 in April. “As expected, tonnage corrected in May from the surprising surge in April,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The economy is still growing, but the recent volatility in truck tonnage fits with a broader economy that is showing more mixed signals. The good news is if you ignore recent highs and lows, tonnage appears to be leveling off, albeit at a high level.” April’s reading was revised down compared with our May press release. Compared with May 2018, the SA index increased 0.9%, the smallest year-over-year gain since April 2017. The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 119.1 in May, 1.5% above April level (117.4). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015. Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 70.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.77 billion tons of freight in 2017. Motor carriers collected $700.1 billion, or 79.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators. ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the drop in the tonnage index shows the economy is still growing, but the recent volatility in truck tonnage fits with a broader economy that is showing more mixed signals. (The Trucker file photo)

ARLINGTON, Va. — American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 6.1% in May after jumping 7% in April. In May, the index equaled 114 (2015=100) compared with 121.4 in April.

“As expected, tonnage corrected in May from the surprising surge in April,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The economy is still growing, but the recent volatility in truck tonnage fits with a broader economy that is showing more mixed signals. The good news is if you ignore recent highs and lows, tonnage appears to be leveling off, albeit at a high level.”

April’s reading was revised down compared with our May press release.

Compared with May 2018, the SA index increased 0.9%, the smallest year-over-year gain since April 2017.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 119.1 in May, 1.5% above April level (117.4). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 70.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.77 billion tons of freight in 2017. Motor carriers collected $700.1 billion, or 79.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.

 

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the drop in the tonnage index shows the economy is still growing, but the recent volatility in truck tonnage fits with a broader economy that is showing more mixed signals.

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