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Dart celebrates opening of operating center in Atlanta metro area

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Dart Chairman Don Oren talks with drivers near the window in the Ellenwood Driver’s Lounge. In the foreground, Dart VP of Marketing & Communications Russ Moore, chats with Ellenwood Operation Center Supervisor Darnell Wilson, as Dart Director of Southeast Sales John Pinyard, right, listens. (Courtesy: DART TRANSIT CO.)

ELLENWOOD, Ga. — Dart Transit Co. has opened a new operating center in the metro Atlanta area.

The facility here is located close to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport south of Atlanta and it will provide the company with the opportunity to grow its customer base in the state and region.

Prior to opening the doors in Ellenwood, Dart operated from a location in Buford northeast of Atlanta.

Along with its strategic new positioning in the metro area, the Ellenwood Operating Center is larger than the previous Buford location and Dart has incorporated the latest in amenities for owner-operators and company drivers in the Dart Network.

“Trucking and logistics have become the bread and butter for Clayton County, particularly because we have four interstates going through the county. Dart has a national presence, and to have them here will be great for Clayton County,” said county Chamber of Commerce President Jeremy Stratton, one of the dignitaries attending Dart’s open house event. “I have had the opportunity to visit a number of truck facilities over the years, and I am very impressed with what I’ve seen here at Dart. The attention to detail in terms of the layout, the technology and the amenities — giving the employees what they need — is awesome. They have obviously put a lot of thought into the plans, and the finished product has turned out well. This will be a great place to work for a lot of people.”

Dart’s Ellenwood facility features 21,000 square feet. The building has 10,000 square feet of office space, which includes an operations center, conference rooms, a driver orientation area and a drivers’ lounge with laundry facilities. The on-site shop covers 11,000 square feet, with a layout that can accommodate simultaneous service on nine trucks and seven trailers. Dart’s Ellenwood property encompasses 10 acres, providing ample space for truck and trailer parking. The facility has a state-of-the-art, 24-hour security system.

“We began this project about 15 months ago. It’s awesome to see it today with everyone here, especially when you think back on how everything has come together,” said Dart Vice President of Maintenance Brett Wacker, who oversaw the company’s development of the Ellenwood Operating Center. “We built this with our people in mind. We wanted to provide a nice, comfortable facility, with good amenities and plenty of space. It’s been great to see people’s reactions as you go through the building.”

Wacker was part of the company’s executive leadership that made the trip to Ellenwood from Dart’s corporate headquarters in the Twin Cities. Chairman of the Board Donald Oren and President James Langley led the visiting group. In addition to touring the new facility, Oren and Langley spent time with the office staff, shop technicians, owner-operators and company drivers in Ellenwood.

“The facility is very impressive, and I give Brett Wacker a lot of credit. He made the decisions on how to lay things out here, and that’s really important because it has to be efficient and it has to be safe for the people who work here,” Oren said. “It was a great event. It’s always fun to meet the drivers and spend time with everyone here. There’s always something to learn.”

 

 

 

 

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  1. Chris Brown

    April 21, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    Dart is a cheap company.I was there 25 Years and was pushed to the bottom of the OTR pay scale because your pay is based on your home zip code ? 87120 got me 1.08 where a driver living in St Louis would get 1.12 even though you run everywhere. Glad to be gone no respect from managers either!

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July trailer sales up slight;y, but below last year; used Class 8 sales fall again

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Both ACT Research and FTR reported trailer sales in July as being up slightly over June, but still far below the same month one year ago. (Courtesy: GREAT DANE)

The nation’s two organizations that track and analyze data about the commercial motor vehicle market both note that trailer orders were up in July as compared to June but were still far below when compared with the same month last year.

One of the two organizations reported used Class 8 sales fell for the fourth consecutive month.

ACT Research said preliminary estimate for July 2019 net trailer orders is 9,900 units. Final volume will be available later this month. This preliminary market estimate should be within +/- 3% of the final order tally.

FTR reported preliminary trailer orders for July at 9,000 units, up 61% from dismal June numbers but 68% below July 2018. FTR said trailer orders continue to show weakness during the summer months after experiencing a record run in the second half of last year, noting that van fleets already have their orders in for 2019 and have not started ordering yet for 2020. Although currently, production remains robust at near-record levels, some easing of build rates is expected as backlogs fall significantly to where they were at the start of 2018, FTR said. Trailer orders for the past 12 months now total 324,000 units.

“While net trailer order volume improved significantly from June’s dramatically disappointing results, the industry’s year-over-year performance continued to be extremely weak. While net orders jumped 65% versus an amazingly weak June, they were 66%  below this point last year, a tough comparison to the first month of the record-setting order run-up of last summer and fall,” said Frank Maly, ACT’s director of CV transportation analysis and research. “While some fleets made investment commitments in response to the opening of some 2020 order boards, their overall response was lackluster. A few months ago, there was strong interest to push commitments into next year, but uncertainty over the economy, freight volumes, and capacity has now caused many fleets to move to the sidelines as they re-assess their true needs for either replacement of older equipment or additions to fleet capacity next year.”

On a positive note, Maly said the cancellation pressures of recent months appeared to ease a bit in July. However, any cancels are likely impacting fourth quarter production slots, so there is still some churn in order board occurring before year-end.

“That results in a fairly soft foundation for early next year. Also worth noting is that production continued at a solid pace in July, although OEMs definitely slid back from June’s frantic pace,” he said.

Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles, said trailer orders should stay subdued in August but start to revive in September, as fleets determine their needs for next year. The environment remains uncertain, with freight growth slowing and the tariff situation in flux.

“The July order volumes continue to demonstrate a possible return to normalcy in the equipment markets. The low total is representative of a typical slow summer order month, and is very close to the July 2016 number,” he said.

As for the used truck market, Steve Tam, ACT’s vice president of research, said preliminary used truck sales fell 2% month-over-month, the fourth consecutive sequential drop.

Other data released in ACT’s preliminary report included sequential comparisons for July 2019, which showed that average prices fell 4%, while average miles climbed 2%, and average age was up 4%.

“Used truck prices are the hottest topic in the industry right now,” Tam said. “Many dealers are experiencing significant softening in prices, but the erosion is not uniform. Depending on a host of factors, experiences vary and a few factors that impact prices include customer, equipment specifications, location, and vehicle condition.”

ACT’s Classes 3-8 Used Truck Report provides data on the average selling price, miles, and age based on a sample of industry data. In addition, the report provides the average selling price for top-selling Class 8 models for each of the major truck OEMs – Freightliner (Daimler); Kenworth and Peterbilt (Paccar); International (Navistar); and Volvo and Mack (Volvo).

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ACT Research: Key risk to CV market forecasts is China trade wars

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This chart showing the U.S. dollar to Chinese yen (RMB), illustrates why trade wars are neither good, nor easy to win, an ACT Research official said, (Courtesy: ACT RESEARCH)

COLUMBUS, Ind. — According to ACT Research’s (ACT) latest release of the North American Commercial Vehicle OUTLOOK, the key risk to all commercial vehicle market forecasts remains the on-again trade war with China.

“This month’s chart, the U.S. dollar to Chinese yuan (RMB) illustrates why trade wars are neither good, nor easy to win,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “As can be seen, after the U.S. fired the latest salvo in the trade war on August 1, the Chinese responded with in-kind tariffs and a 3% currency devaluation — so far. Since the first ‘shots’ of the trade war were fired on March 1, 2018, the RMB has fallen 12% versus the U.S. dollar.

“So, tariffs imposed by the U.S. have been met with in-kind tariffs from China, and the Chinese government has allowed the yuan to devalue, thereby offsetting the U.S. tariff impact, while simultaneously making US goods even more expensive in China.”

Vieth said the bigger risk, especially to emerging economies is that in order to compete with China, they will have to devalue their currencies, making US goods more expensive in more countries and raising the risk of a deeper global downturn.

ACT Research is a publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies.

More information can be found at www.actresearch.net.

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ACT Research: Heavy duty markets at the edge of the precipice

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This graph by ACT Research shows freight growth will decline in 2020 and 2021 before accelerating in 2022, Class 8 truck productivity will remain in the negative through 2022 but will become less each year. (Courtesy: ACT RESEARCH)

COLUMBUS, Ind.  – According to ACT Research’s latest release of the North American Commercial Vehicle OUTLOOK, current data and anecdotes make a strong case that the heavy-duty vehicle markets are at the edge of the precipice.

“Since the start of this demand up-cycle in late 2017, we have targeted this year’s third quarter as the point at which the industry was likely to see production rollover,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “That targeting was largely derived from historical precedent, with historical peak-level build lasting between 13 and 15 months. For the current cycle, we date peak build rates to June 2018, so August represents the 15th month of peak-level production.”

Regarding heavy vehicle demand, Vieth said, “At the heart of our cycle duration prediction, carrier profitability and production peaks always lag the freight cycle, so capacity building always accelerates relative to freight growth at exactly the wrong time, every time.

“Large new inventories and deteriorating freight and rate conditions suggest erring on the side of caution remains the right call, and we are warning those in the industry to be prepared for down weeks starting as early as fourth quarter.”

ACT Research is a publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies.

More information can be found at www.actresearch.net.

 

 

 

 

 

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