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

Good day,

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!

Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at