Industrial Slowdown Puts Trucking Firms in Driver’s Seat

<b>Industrial Slowdown Puts Trucking Firms in Driver’s Seat</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – It may go against our common knowledge of the economy, but it turns out that long-haul trucking could remain relatively healthy during a deep recession.

General intuition would hint that the trucking industry would be in shambles because about 80 percent of U.S. industry relies on trucks to move freight, and many of these companies are downsizing. And despite trucking bankruptcies skyrocketing in the first three quarters of 2008, these foldings have slowed as efficiencies from industry consolidation and lower diesel prices have kept many successful fleets in business.

Now, the outlook of the trucking industry is looking much better. Why? Because for the past few years, the trucking industry has suffered a trucker shortage. And with current unemployment rates so high, trucking companies are finding a new crop of top-notch drivers.

North South Leasing, a Michigan-based truck leasing company, has seen its lease applications triple since June 2008. North South Leasing leases semi-trucks to owner-operators, who run the trucks as small businesses. General Manager Bob Anderson reports that his company has booked 80 new, active leases from clients who are offering more collateral and accepting shorter terms. “Other finance and lease companies made their standards so high that people who would receive credit just a few years ago can’t get it today,” said Anderson. “We keep our standards reasonable.”

Driving schools are finding their trucker training classes packed. Blue-collar and white-collar workers from every economic bracket now consider trucking a viable way to earn a weekly paycheck.

“Like many other industries, trucking is experiencing a very difficult time during the current economic recession,” said Bill Graves, president and CEO of the American Trucking Association. “But looking at recent trends, all signs point to a strong, vital, long-term future for our industry.”

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Looking to Truckers for Gas-Saving Tips

<b>Looking to Truckers for Gas-Saving Tips</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – High gas prices affect every business, but trucking companies especially feel the hit.

As diesel prices rise, truckers spend big bucks on shipments. Companies feel reluctant to pass extra costs on to consumers, so higher gas prices tend to cut into truckers’ profits. But many shipping companies and owner-drivers are taking steps to make big-rig transportation less expensive.

The tips that truckers use can help anyone save fuel -; and money -; whether they drive an eighteen-wheeler or a Mini Cooper. The folks at North South Leasing Company (, a company that leases and sells trucks to businesses and individuals, offer these tips to drivers looking to save money on the roads:

– Don’t idle. Running your engine while your car is stopped wastes gas -; you get zero miles per gallon. Trucking companies are putting in policies to prohibit drivers from idling their trucks unless it is absolutely necessary. You should do the same.

– Maintain your car. Truckers constantly fine-tune their rigs. Likewise, car owners can improve their fuel efficiency by taking their vehicles to the shop at least four times annually, or whenever the seasons change. Making sure that filters remain unclogged and that engine components work properly can boost efficiency, so vehicles will use less fuel.

– Properly inflate your tires. Low tires reduce fuel efficiency, so make sure that your tires’ air pressure levels meet their manufacturer’s recommendations. Keeping your tires properly inflated at all times can save you well over 100 gallons of gas per year.

– Don’t drive aggressively. Aggressive behavior, like taking sharp turns and making sudden starts and stops, does not just risks lives -; it also reduces fuel economy. Try easing into stops and coasting down hills to reduce fuel usage and to reduce wear and tear on vehicle components.

– Drive the speed limit. Most cars lose efficiency when they exceed speeds of 65 miles per hour. Con-way Freight of Ann Arbor, Mich., has lowered the top speed of its fleet of 8,400 trucks from 65 mph to 62 mph. It may seem like a small amount, but it saves approximately 3.2 million gallons of fuel a year and about $1.2 million in fuel costs each month for the company.

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