Today’s Pickup: Even at a maintenance show, connectivity and electrification dominate

Michelin's Ralph DiMenna


The American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance
Council (TMC) annual meeting is taking place this week in Atlanta, and even at
a show that has traditionally had a heavy maintenance focus, electrification
remains the main topic.

The North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) kicked
off the electrification talk with the announcement of a three-year research effort focused on
regional-haul trucking. NACFE will focus on identifying high-potential regional
trucking routes as they pertain to changes in freight movement; supporting the
implementation of initial and future deployments of electric vehicles outside
of California; scaling best practices in infrastructure development for fleets
and communities; and increasing confidence in the value of electrification.

Not to be outdone, Phillips Connect Technologies introduced new
solutions aimed at preventing theft, and remotely managing trailers’ precheck
processes, and Wabco added trailer tracking and telematics solutions. Even
Michelin, which rolled out a new trailer maintenance program, has a strong
digital component to the program.

The future of trucking appears to be electrification and
connectivity, and even maintenance tasks are falling under the spell.

FreightWaves show coverage can be found here:

Did you know?

Tires, brakes, lighting, power plant and cooling systems
accounted for 65% of all truck repairs according to TMC data. The average cost
of a tow is now $1,485. 


“Cost per repair looks like a permanent headwind our industry
is facing.”

– Robert Braswell, TMC executive director, on the rising costs of truck repairs, which have now topped $450 per repair according to TMC data.

In other news:

CBD warning for truck drivers

The U.S. Department of
Transportation has issued a warning to truck drivers about CBD products that
may contain illegal levels of hemp, triggering a positive drug test. (Transport Topics)

Oil prices fall

As fears over the coronavirus
continue to spread, the price of oil is falling, dropping 4% on Monday on
demand concerns. (Reuters)

 DOT to issue $1 billion in BUILD grants

The U.S. Department of
Transportation is opening up requests to states for a portion of $1 billion in
BUILD grants for infrastructure projects. (AASHTO Journal)

Trump again pitches $1 trillion infrastructure plan

President Donald Trump is again
pushing a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, but this time, he wants the federal
government to pay for it. (Associated Press)

Supply chain suffering from the coronavirus

The impact of the coronavirus is
impacting the supply chain, and consumers are about to find out how bad it is. (Bloomberg)

Final thoughts

As the industry gathered in Atlanta this week for the annual
Technology & Maintenance Council meeting, the real work takes place in the
technical sessions that populate the four-day meeting. It is in these sessions
where industry professionals dig into minute details looking for the slightest
cost savings or recommend best practice. It’s not sexy work, but it’s important
work that will help define the future costs of trucking.

Hammer down, everyone!