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JOC Guide to Trucking, August 2018

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20 The Journal of Commerce | August 2018 www.joc.com 2018 JOC Guide to Trucking Rob Estes, president and CEO of Estes Express Lines, the largest privately owned LTL trucking company. Estes is the grand- son of founder W.W. Estes. "This is bigger even than 2004 and 2005." Those were years when high freight demand and tight capacity fueled frenetic growth and cutthroat LTL competition, an expansion eventually checked by the global economic crisis and recession of 2008-2009. Since the end of the recession, LTL carriers overall have been more focused on bottom-line profit than top-line revenue, and pric- ing has been "disciplined." Right now, pricing, profit, and reve- nue are all traveling upward at an angle as sharp as an alpine ski lift. "This is a year-round Christmas, and it's going to last two or three years," Jindel said. That means it's also the time for LTL carriers to lay the foundation for the 2020s by investing in technology, but also terminals, equipment, and their most important asset, the truck driver. l email: bill.cassidy@ihsmarkit.com twitter: @willbcassidy Rob Estes is president and CEO of the largest family owned LTL company in the US, but if it weren't for a coin toss, his career could have gone differently. "My grandad was a farmer," Estes said at the LTL Legends Evening June 12. "He got a truck and did decent with that truck. So, he went to a banker to get a second truck, and the banker said, 'Mr. Estes, you have to decide whether you want to be a farmer or a trucker.'" W.W. Estes made that momentous decision in a time-honored way. "He flipped a coin," his grandson said. "Lucky for us, it came up trucking." ― William B. Cassidy A fork in a road, a flip of a coin Murat Uzman Photography heavy-duty Class 8 electric tractor. Those are just two examples of the voltage flowing to the electric truck (ET) market. Driven in part by the popularity of Tesla's electric cars, ship- pers and trucking companies alike are making down payments on electric trucks even before they roll off the drawing board. When Tesla introduced its electric Semi tractor last Novem- ber, UPS quickly ordered 125 of them. Higher fuel prices and the pros- pect of environmental regulations calling for "zero" emissions are two of the main factors propelling "electrification." They're part of the reason CEO Dakota Semler and COO Giordano Sordoni founded Thor Trucks in California. In addition, shippers are serious about reducing their carbon footprint and green- house gas (GHG) emissions. Battery life questions persist Questions about battery life and the ability of electric vehicles to perform in the heavy-duty truck environment persist, however. At the moment, EVs or "ETs" seem best suited to short-haul operations Electric trucks show vital spark Rising fuel costs, emissions rules, sustainability goals recharge electric truck, with long-term implications By William B. Cassidy THE ELECTRIC TRUCK, once thought as dead as the Stanley Steamer, is exhibiting unexpected spunk and spark in the 21st century. From startups to traditional original equipment manufacturers, truck makers are racing to develop and test medium- and heavy-duty elec- tric commercial vehicles in applica- tions from parcel delivery to port drayage and, eventually, long-haul over-the-road trucking. In June, Penske Truck Leasing and logistics company NFI Industries gave the electric truck a fresh jolt of power by partnering with Daimler Trucks North America subsidiary Freightliner. The transportation companies will deploy 30 elec- tric-powered medium and heavy-du- ty trucks, starting this fall, and participate in what DTNA calls the "co-creation" of a US electric fleet. Last month, UPS added Thor Trucks, a Los Angeles-based manufac- turer, to its stable of electric vehicle suppliers. UPS will test two Thor electric Class 6 delivery trucks with a 100-mile battery power range this year in Los Angeles, and Thor hopes to make the vehicles available commer- cially in 2019, along with its ET-ONE

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