Briefs

ESCO Tries to Consolidate Drayage Industry ESCO Transportation Co, an intermodal drayage company, has announced a five-year plan to attempt to consolidate the fragmented intermodal drayage and short-haul truckload segments of the transportation industry. ESCO's strategy is to make acquisitions within key intermodal markets in the United States and leverage its position for improved intermodal performance. The result would lead to increased capacity, as well as cost and service efficiencies in an industry area often referred to as a "black hole" due to the large number of small, competing companies, most of which have little supply chain visibility and information technology support for shippers.

ESCO's first step toward its goal was completed Jan 20, 2000, with the purchase of Minnesota-based Quantum Transportation Inc, which has operations in Shakopee MN, as well as a facility in Ripon CA. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Kevin Dahlke, formerly president of Quantum, will join ESCO as terminal manager, with responsibility for both the Shakopee and Ripon locations. Dahlke has 22 years of experience in the transportation industry.

Union Pacific Carrier Services recently awarded ESCO a contract to operate a new Fort Smith AR intermodal ramp facility. That contract, plus the acquisition of Quantum, provides ESCO with nine intermodal drayage operating facilities. The other eight are located in: Dallas TX, Houston TX, Gulfport MS, Memphis TN, Minneapolis MN, Modesto CA, Los Angeles CA, and Springdale AR.

Sun Valley Fruit Manager Wins Kenworth Hawaii Trip Fleet manager Kenneth Willey from Rio Rancho NM was chosen the winner in the Kenworth Advantages Savings Book sweepstakes. Willey, who manages 80 vehicles for Sun Valley Fruit Co, Inc, received his savings book from Albuquerque Truck Center. He received two round-trip tickets to Hawaii, with three days in Honolulu and three days in Maui. The package includes hotel accommodations and a rental car.

Savings books are available at participating Kenworth dealers or by phoning 800-592-7747 to find the nearest participating dealer. Coupons are valid until May 31, 2000.

PC-Rated Lamps Can Help Fleets Save Money Grote Industries' new Turtle-Back II PC-rated LED clearance/marker lamps allow fleets to outfit trailers with fewer lamps, brackets, and pigtails. Because the lamps meet the SAE PC rating, only one lamp is required at each front corner. By using the PC rating, fleets can mount these lamps at a 45 degrees angle and eliminate one lamp per corner.

If lamps replaced by the PC-rated Turtle-Back II are incandescent, fleets will recognize even greater savings. These lamps last longer than incandescent lamps, employ an elastomeric potting compound for durability, eliminate failure points by using durable solid brass-pin terminals, and use "Plug and Go" technology for quick incandescent interchangeability. SuperNova LED lamps are covered by a 10-year warranty.

The PC-rated lamps use light-emitting diodes mounted to three circuit boards to spread the light in the 180 degrees arc necessary to cover the corner and meet the PC photometric requirement. All three of the circuit boards are individually potted to provide vibration protection and moisture resistance. To further ensure protection from dirt, dust, and moisture, the lens is vibration-welded to the housing for a permanent seal.

For more information, contact Grote, 2600 Lanier Dr, Madison IN 47250.

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NHTSA Denies Underride Petition The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has denied a petition from the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association to revise underride guard test procedures.

TTMA had requested three changes in the way underride guards must be tested in order to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 223.

The regulation requires that guards be tested by using a ram to slowly push the underride guard forward 125 mm while simultaneously measuring the amount of resistance. One of the requests would have allowed the guard to be tested by allowing the ram to stop periodically through the test procedure to permit the guard's resistance to be measured. According to TTMA, such a method would enable manufacturers to test guards with inexpensive equipment.

TTMA also requested that NHTSA allow manufacturers to stop pushing the guard before the device travels forward the entire 125 mm-if it appears that the guard has met requirements of the regulation. The association's position was that to continue testing a guard after it absorbed the specified energy would be an unnecessary expenditure of test resources and money.

The association also asked for a change in the way energy absorption is measured. Rather than subtracting the amount of energy released when the guard rebounds from the impact, TTMA wanted that amount included when calculating the overall amount of energy the guard absorbs.

In denying the petition, NHTSA said the agency already had modified FMVSS 223 from the original proposal in an effort to accommodate smaller trailer manufacturers. In addition, the agency was not convinced that the rule in its current form creates a hardship for manufacturers.

Idaho Weight-Distance Tax Provision Rejected An Idaho district court has struck down the state's weight-distance tax reduced-rate provision, finding it in violation of the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. After a two-week trial on the case, brought by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and others, the court said ATA had presented clear and convincing evidence that the provision was tailored to benefit "local production and intrastate travel" and that "the state has provided a direct commercial advantage to Idaho commercial carriers to the disadvantage of non-Idaho commercial carriers."

The Idaho court rejected the state's contention that the reduced-rate provision, which provides as much as a 50 percent tax reduction for carriage of Idaho natural resources, was justified because trucks hauling those products cause less road wear. The court said "evidence is overwhelming that this assumption is not correct." Instead, because of their greater average operating weights, trucks hauling the reduced-rate commodities "cause greater road wear than general commodity trucks."

The court enjoined further application of the reduced rate after March 1, 2000. It plans further proceedings on the issue of damages. Potentially, tens of millions of dollars in discriminatory tax payments may be subject to refund.

Bandag Inc Announces Earnings for 1999 Bandag Inc has reported consolidated 1999 net earnings of $52.3 million on consolidated net sales of $1.01 billion. Full-year 1999 results include nonrecurring charges, net of tax benefits, of about $7.7 million. This compares with 1998 net earnings of $59.3 million, which included nonrecurring charges, net of tax benefits, of about $1.2 million for facility closure and other restructuring costs. Consolidated net sales for 1998 were $1.06 billion.

Flexfab Debuts Silicone Coolant Hose Line The Flexfab Division of Flexfab Horizons International Inc announces a line of coolant hoses designed for heavy-duty pressure connections in truck engine compartments. New DuraGuard System silicone hoses are reinforced with polyester fabric and coated with a specially compounded silicone elastomer to resist hardening, cracking, cold leaks, aging, steam, and many chemicals. These hoses have a maximum continuous operating temperature range of -65 degrees to +350 degrees Fahrenheit (-54 degrees to +177 degrees Centigrade) and meet or exceed the requirements of SAE J20 RI Class A, TMC RP303B, and all OEM specifications. Offered in three- and four-ply versions, these hoses are guaranteed for the life of a vehicle on which they are installed originally.

A free brochure is available that describes Flexfab silicone hoses and other products for heavy-duty truck applications. The new eight-page High-Performance Hoses, Ducts, and Connectors for the Heavy-Duty Truck Industry brochure also contains a "Clamping Instructions" section designed to help heavy-duty truck maintenance personnel install coolant and charge air connectors correctly. For more information, contact Flexfab Division, 1699 West M-43 Hwy, Hastings MI 49058.

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Foster Farms Selects XATA Onboard Recording Systems Foster Farms has chosen XATA Corp to provide onboard computers and other hardware and software components for its next-generation fleet management system.

With annual sales of more than $1 billion, Foster Farms owns and operates hatcheries, grow-out ranches, feed mills, processing plants, and delivery systems with operations in California, Oregon, Washington, and Alabama. Foster Farms is outfitting its fleet of 91 vehicles with XATA onboard computers and will continue implementation throughout 2000.

Foster Farms plans to use XATA's onboard computer system to gather information on fleet operations to improve delivery times, driver productivity, fuel economy, and overall fleet efficiency. Coors Awards Grimes Logistics

Grimes Logistics Services has received the Coors Brewing Co 1999 Warehouse of the Year Award for service excellence by a third-party logistics provider. In attaining this honor, Grimes also garnered the 1999 Service Performance Measurement Award.

LeakChek Uses Vapor Detection MotorVac Technologies Inc is offering Industrial LeakChek, a leak detection system for the heavy-duty industrial and truck markets. Industrial LeakChek combines pressure-testing technology with the use of a visible, nontoxic vapor to detect leaks in air brake, vacuum, exhaust, air induction, fuel, oil, and transmission systems. When exposed to black light, the source of the leak will slow due to a chemiluminescent additive in the vapor. The unit operates on 12-volt power and compressed air.

For more information, contact MotorVac, 1431 E Village Way, Santa Ana CA 92804.

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High-Performance-40 Axle New from Spicer Division Dana Corp's Spicer Heavy Axle and Brake Division has launched a new 40,000-lb tandem-drive axle, the Dana Spicer High-Performance-40 (Model DSH40). Features include:

* A 15.75-inch hypoid gearing.

* Higher-capacity Timken bearings.

* Micro-Lip XL seal and slinger system.

* A Power Divider Unit shift system.

Optional features include: the LMS Hub System, synthetic axle lubricant, Outrunner wheel end seal, "no-maintenance" axle breather, driver-controlled full wheel differential lock, and a "gerotor"-style lube pump system. For more details, contact Spicer, PO Box 2229, Fort Wayne IN 46801-2229.

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PremierCare Adds Preventive Maintenance The Kenworth PremierCare Program has expanded its offerings by introducing a preventive maintenance program available on a contract basis.

The objective of the new PM program is to provide quality maintenance service at a fixed, reasonable price. Under the program, customers sign a PM agreement. In return, they can have their trucks serviced at any participating Kenworth dealer in the United States and Canada, and still receive the same service and price level contracted for under their PM agreement.

Kenworth establishes a customized PM plan based on each customer's chassis number, preferred service intervals, contract length, operating profile, and general operating area. As the truck approaches the mileage or time when service is due, the customer schedules an appointment by phoning Kenworth's PremierCare Customer Center at 800-592-7747. An appointment is made with the nearest available dealer for the service. If no other repair or service is done, no additional out-of-pocket expense is charged.

GE Capital Acquires Fleet Leasing Portfolio GE Capital Fleet Services has acquired the corporate and utility fleet leasing portfolio of Bank of America Leasing and Capital Group, consisting of about 26,000 commercial trucks and cars nationwide. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

The corporate and utility portfolio unit has approximately $400 million in assets and will become part of GE Capital's existing North American business. GE Capital earlier purchased the small-fleet services portfolio from Bank of America Leasing and Capital Group in August 1999, consisting of about 13,000 cars and trucks.

AmeriCold to Handle Mrs Smith's Warehousing Mrs Smith's Bakeries Inc and AmeriCold Logistics have signed a letter of intent for AmeriCold to manage Mrs Smith's nationwide warehousing network for its frozen baked foods. A business unit of Flowers Industries, Mrs Smith's produces and markets branded, packaged frozen pies and desserts. AmeriCold provides temperature-controlled storage and food distribution services worldwide. The agreement likely will be completed early in 2000.

A third-party outsourcing agreement will be entered into based on the letter of intent and will include implementation of a distribution network to improve cost efficiency and cycle times of Mrs Smith's service to retail, foodservice, and deli/bakery customers. Under the agreement, AmeriCold will design a distribution network for Mrs Smith's using its food distribution centers, which will consolidate and streamline shipment and storage of frozen baked foods. Currently, Mrs Smith's leases distribution and warehouse space from suppliers nationwide.

AmeriCold will integrate its information system, including the Internet-based i-3PL, to help Mrs Smith's management team track real-time inventory levels. This includes providing enhanced inventory capabilities and more detailed product handling and distribution information.

Capacity of Texas Gains ISO 9001 Capacity of Texas Inc has been designated an ISO 9001-certified manufacturer. Based in Longview TX, Capacity distributes products through a national and international authorized representative network and operates a multi-million-dollar parts warehouse. Capacity is a wholly owned subsidiary of Collins Industries Inc, a manufacturer of ambulances, small school buses, commercial buses, and terminal trucks.

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