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Behind the headlines (March 01, 2008)

The downturn in both freight volumes and freight rates is making it increasingly important for motor carriers to watch their costs and industry suppliers have a role to play in ensuring costs are redu...


The downturn in both freight volumes and freight rates is making it increasingly important for motor carriers to watch their costs and industry suppliers have a role to play in ensuring costs are reduced wisely, editorial director Lou Smyrlis said in addressing the annual sales meeting of Michelin Canada, held in Ottawa in February.

“Whether it’s dealing with owner/operators or small fleets you need to be proactive in helping them understand and properly track the things that cost them money. Our research shows that the preferred way for both fleets and owner/operators to optimize tire costs in the future is through in-house preventive maintenance services such as inspections, flat checks and air pressure maintenance. I’m sure as a company you have a great deal of expertise in all these areas and your advice would be invaluable, at the small fleet and owner/operator level,” Smyrlis advised.

Smyrlis was also a guest speaker at a temperature control supply chain event at the Port of Halifax recently. Smyrlis said the temperature controlled supply chain is a marvel of logistics management we often take for granted.

“Take someone like Clearwater, who exports more than $250 million worth of seafood every year. How their goods manage to make a seamless transition from their fleet of vessels, through an international supply chain, and into the refrigerators of grocery stores, restaurants and kitchens around the world is nothing short of remarkable, when you consider the uncertainties of all the factors involved – such as weather, catch rates, quotas, market conditions, border issues, and storage equipment,” Smyrlis said. “Seafood that used to be processed where it was caught, is now caught here or on the West Coast and then could be shipped to some processing plant in China before being shipped back to North America. How often do we think about the logistics involved in that when we take a piece of salmon out of our fridge? Yet we expect it to be in perfect condition, and of course, safe to eat. In the same way, we expect to eat grapes and watermelon, year-round. How often do we think about where these fruits come from and what it takes to get them here in prime condition?”

Smyrlis also led a discussion among a panel of experts, including Robin Shaw of Kuehne & Nagel, Hayley Warner of Alliance World Transport, Barry Smith of Nova Cold Storage and Ches Carter of the Halifax Port Authority. The panel examined issues such as changing shipper demands, infrastructure concerns, and how to reduce costs without hurting service.

Are you a parts distributor or shop operator? Then you may want to check out James Menzies’ blog at trucknews.com. Menzies filed several blog entries from Heavy-Duty Aftermarket Week in Las Vegas in January.

Topics include:Why fleets buy; the risks of carrying non-brand name parts; and the success of the independent garage.


Truck News

Truck News

Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.
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