Today’s Pickup: TMC highlights fuel efficiency gains

Trucks fueling at a Love’s truck stop. ( Photo: Wikimedia Commons )

Good day,

Shell and AirFlow Truck Company have unveiled their long-awaited Starship truck project, a futuristic, aerodynamic Class 8 truck equipped with radar sensors, solar panels to power the interior, and an active front grille to manage air flows. 

Bob Sliwa, president of Airflow, said that it took his company 18,000 hours to build the “100% bespoke” truck. A previous Sliwa project, the Bullet Truck, which was completed in 2012, averaged 13.4 mpg on a coast-to-coast trip hauling freight at a gross weight of 65,000 lbs.

The Starship will drive from California to Florida this May, hauling clean reef material for a new reef installation off the coast of Florida. 

Did you know?

Privately held trucking companies grew sales 14.9% on average in 2017, according to Sageworks, a financial information company.


“This is our time to shine.”

-Chris Spear, President of the ATA, on trucking’s embrace of transformative technologies

In other news:

Stifel: Buy UPS on the dip because Amazon threat is overblown

A research note by Stifel’s David Ross this morning said that the recent sell-off in UPS stock went too far, and there’s plenty of upside at the current price. (CNBC)

Hapag-Lloyd digitizes access to rates with CargoSphere

The CargoSphere platform offers digital infrastructure to establish an automated data transfer of contract and public tariff rates between a carrier, CargoSphere and the carrier customers. (The Loadstar)

Freight brokers achieved record volume and revenue in January

The record revenue was fueled by a 41% increase in the number of loads moved, with 26% more revenue per load, compared to January 2017. (DAT Blog)

How Trump’s Hudson Tunnel feud threatens the national economy

The pre-WW1 tunnel sees 820K passengers a day and is key to 20% of the country’s GDP. (Bloomberg)

Q&A with Greg West, C.H. Robinson VP of LTL Transportation

“It is not just about rates, it is about being viewed as a shipper of choice. If I had bad practices, carriers will shy away and not pick up that freight,” said West. (Logistics Management)

Final Thoughts:

The ATA’s Technology and Maintenance Council has really demonstrated how many fuel efficiency gains are still on the table for Class 8 diesel trucks: yesterday, we covered the results of the NACFE-sponsored ‘Run on Less’ program, where drivers from different fleets, driving Freightliners, Internationals, and Volvos, were able to achieve an average of 10.1 mpg over the course of the study. That figure represents a 57% improvement over the the nationwide fleet average of 6.4 mpg. Today, we’re reporting on a new, futuristic truck—the Starship—that uses advanced technology and aerodynamics to capture some of the same efficiencies. 

Hammer down everyone!

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John Paul Hampstead, Associate Editor

John Paul writes about current events and economics, especially politics, finance, and commodities, and holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Michigan. In previous lives John Paul studied Shakespeare in London and Buddhism in India, but now he focuses on transportation and logistics in the heart of Freight Alley--Chattanooga. He spends his free time with his wife and daughter herding cats, collecting books, and walking alongside the Tennessee River.