J.B. Hunt to buy 15,000 Freightliners over next five years

LOWELL, Ark. (Aug. 27, 1999) — J.B. Hunt Transport Services will spend more than $1 billion over five years to convert its fleet of 9000 cabover tractors to Freightliner Century Class conventionals.

The Lowell, Ark.-based truckload carrier will take delivery of about 800 Freightliner conventionals this year, with 3000 more to follow next year. The company expects to buy as many as 15,000 trucks by 2005.

J.B. Hunt said it was making the switch to attract and retain drivers, who have not been receptive to the fleet’s cabovers. It primarily operates Navistar International 9800s, which Navistar discontinued in North America last year.

Freightliner will accept trade-ins of J.B. Hunt’s Internationals and remanufacture them as Freightliner Legacy-class conventionals.

The announcement by J.B. Hunt follows recent decisions by Wal-Mart Stores and Schneider National to adopt conventional tractors. For years, the three companies comprised the bulk of new cabover orders in North America.

Hunt and Schneider are switching from Internationals to Freightliners; Wal-Mart has remained with Navistar.

In addition to switching over to conventional tractors, J.B. Hunt said it would reduce its practice of “slip-seating,” allowing drivers to stay with the same truck.

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