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Today’s Pickup: Kenworth adds remote diagnostics to medium-duty trucks; Trucking Conditions Index falls

Good day,

Truck makers have been insisting that medium-duty truck owners are starting to look for the same type of data analytics and remote diagnostic capabilities that long-haul operators have become accustomed to in recent years. Kenworth is the latest manufacturer to heed that call, announcing that its TruckTech+ Remote Diagnostics is now an option for its medium-duty conventional trucks.

“Kenworth TruckTech+ Remote Diagnostics has proven to be very successful for our Class 8 customers. Nearly 129,000 Kenworth Class 8 trucks equipped with the system have combined to travel more than 14 billion miles since the system’s introduction four years ago,” said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. “Now, purchasers of new Kenworth medium-duty conventional trucks can benefit from this important technology that helps to optimize truck uptime and productivity.”

Fleets and truck operators buying new Kenworth T270, T370, T440 and T470 models – equipped with the 6.7-liter PACCAR PX-7 engine, 8.9-liter PACCAR PX-9 engine or Cummins Westport L9N natural gas engine – will be able to order Kenworth TruckTech+ Remote Diagnostics. The program comes with a free two-year subscription with longer-term plans available at a cost.

TruckTech+ provides real-time engine health information to fleet managers and Kenworth dealers to help optimize truck uptime and productivity. The customer can also track the location of their Kenworth trucks.

Kenworth TruckTech+ notifications include continue driving with no action required, keep driving and address the service code during the next service interval, head to a dealer for service, or pull over to prevent possible damage. If the customer needs to take the truck in for service, the system maps out the locations of the three closest repair facilities.

If a repair is needed quickly, the data can be sent to the servicing dealer in advance so they can be prepared to work on the truck.

Did you know?

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index in March fell to -1.18, the first negative reading in several years, the firm said. The reading reflects easing rates and a demand outlook that is positive, but sluggish, FTR said.

Quotable:

“It’s a policy without a strategy or a plan. Good policy and evidence doesn’t come out of a political campaign trying to attract public support.”

Nick Leggett, chief executive of the Road Transport Forum, on an Auckland, New Zealand, mayoral candidate’s proposal to tax trucks seeking to enter the city’s port during daylight hours.

In other news:

DHL invests in fleet expansion

DHL is investing in 45 new tractors, 29 trucks and 29 double-deck trailers in Europe as it expands its fleet to meet growing demand for freight. (eDelivery)

Truck drivers become an election issue in Bulgaria

Low-wage truck drivers and the impact of new EU regulations have become major election issues in Bulgaria as candidates choose sides. (KSL.com)

Amazon to break ground on new air hub

Groundbreaking for Amazon’s new $1.4 billion air hub in Hebron, Kentucky, is scheduled for today. The air cargo facility is expected to support a fleet of 100 Prime Air cargo planes when operational. (FOX19)

Rail industry touts automation as job creator

The rail industry is fighting back against opponents of automation, arguing that it will lead to more jobs in the industry, not fewer as critics say. (Inside Sources)

Final Thoughts

The headlines will read that FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) has fallen into negative territory. They don’t tell the full story, though, and that is the problem facing the industry, and the economy as a whole, right now. Things were so good in 2018 that anything else will bring out negative headlines. The TCI was -1.18 in March, even though conditions remain positive. Turn to social media and you will see truckers complaining about the rates, even though they remain higher than a few short years ago; they are not as good as 2018, and that’s all anyone remembers. FTR’s Avery Vise, vice president of trucking, summed it up nicely when he said, “the trucking industry has essentially returned to neutral conditions.” Not bad, just not as good.

Hammer down everyone!

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team 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 fleetowner.com. 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.

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