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Dart celebrates opening of operating center in Atlanta metro area



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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No spring break for spot van, reefer rates



The map shows the various rate ranges for van load to rate ratios. (Courtesy: DAT TRENDLINES)

PORTLAND, Ore. — Newsal average spot van and refrigerated freight rates slipped again during the week ending April 13 as the number of load posts fell 4% while truck posts increased 3%.

The arrival of produce season in several southern markets failed to make up for the effects of more capacity in the spot market and bad weather across much of the country, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Here are the national average spot rates:

  • Van: $1.83/mile, 2 cents lower than the March average
  • Flatbed: $2.37/mile, 3 cents higher than March
  • Reefer: $2.15/mile, 2 cents lower than March

Van trends

How soft are spot van rates? Pricing was lower on 76 of the top 100 van lanes last week. Only 23 lanes saw rates rise and one lane was neutral.

Van load-to-truck ratios have not held up after a promising start to April, with the national average sitting at 1.3 loads for every available truck. The good news is that load counts rose nearly 5% in Chicago and Houston, and more than 3% in Los Angeles last week—major markets for spot van freight.

Markets to watch: Outbound rates were down from Los Angeles, Columbus, Ohio, Philadelphia, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte to Allentown, Pennsylvania, gave up 13 cents to $2.08/mile, and rates fell on two Buffalo-inbound lanes: Columbus to Buffalo, down 19 cents to $2.66/mile, and Chicago to Buffalo, off 19 cents to $2.31/mile.

Reefer trends

Prices rose on 38 of the top 72 reefer lanes last week. Thirty-one lanes were lower and three were neutral. Higher volume in Florida and California was balanced out by lower volume from the Upper Midwest and Texas, which hurt spot reefer pricing overall.

Markets to watch: Lakeland, Florida, volumes spiked nearly 27% last week while the average outbound rate climbed 2 cents to $1.57/mile. Let’s see if Lakeland rates trace the pattern in Miami, where a big jump in volume two weeks ago was followed by a nice gain in the average outbound rate ($1.80/mile, up 13 cents). Meanwhile, several lanes from Florida and California produced strong rates:

  • Fresno, California, to Denver up 40 cents to $2.24/mile
  • Fresno to Boston gained 19 cents to $2.23/mile
  • Miami to Baltimore up 29 cents to $2.00/mile
  • Miami to Elizabeth, New Jersey, rose 15 cents to $1.82/mile

The Imperial Valley is underperforming for reefer freight: last week the average outbound rate from Ontario, California, was $2.51/mile, down 8 cents, on 9% lower volume.

DAT Trendlines are generated using DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. The RateView database is comprised of more than $60 billion in freight payments. DAT load boards average 1.2 million load posts searched per business day.

For the latest spot market loads and rate information, visit and follow @LoadBoards on Twitter.

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March used truck sales down 14% from last year



ACT Research Vice President Steve Tam said slowing growth in the freight market is also a likely contributor to the lower sales of used trucks. (Courtesy: ACT RESEARCH)

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Preliminary used Class 8 volumes (same dealer sales) jumped 25% month-over-month in March, following a modest decline in February, according to the latest preliminary release of the State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks published by ACT Research. However, the report indicated that longer-term comparisons yielded a 14% decline compared to March 2018.

Other data released in ACT’s preliminary report included year-over-year comparisons for March 2019, which showed that average prices rose 7%, while average miles contracted 2%, and average age was 8% higher.

“We continue to hear from dealers that the lack of inventory is a limiting factor inhibiting sales volumes, an observation corroborated by the current demand and pricing environment,” said Steve Tam, vice president at ACT Research. “Despite the impressive sequential increase, volumes remain well below last year’s year-to-date level. It is important to note that slowing growth in the freight market is also a likely contributor to the lower sales. Truckers may be getting to the point where they have the trucks necessary to meet their needed freight demand.”

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).

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 .



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Diesel prices continue to climb nationwide



The average price for a gallon of diesel nationwide rose 2½ cents for the week ending April 15, to stand at $3.118 per gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The average price for diesel is now the highest it’s been since the week before Christmas.

The price increase was felt in every region of the country, although not evenly, as prices in the western third of the nation jumped considerably more than in the rest of the country.

The West Coast was hit the hardest, seeing diesel prices rise 6 cents, to end the week at $3.651 per gallon. California, which usually is responsible for the heft of price increases on the West Coast, actually had less of an increase, $0.057 per gallon, than the remainder of the West Coast, where the price jumped a nation-leading $0.063. California continues to edge closer to the $4 per gallon plateau. With this week’s increase, the average price for a gallon of diesel in the Golden State is $3.967 per gallon.

The Rocky Mountain region wasn’t far behind the West Coast, seeing a price increase of $0.054 per gallon, to $3.082.

Heading east, the price jumps are decidedly smaller, the largest being the Gulf Coast, where diesel rose 2 cents, to finish at $2.899. The Gulf Coast continues to hold its claim to the lowest diesel prices in the nation. It is now the only region in the country where diesel remains below $3 per gallon.

The Midwest and Lower Atlantic regions crept back over $3 per gallon during the past week. In both regions, diesel prices rose 1.7 cents, to finish at $3.010 in the Midwest and $3.015 in the Lower Atlantic.

Elsewhere on the East Coast, diesel rose $0.018 in the Central Atlantic, to $3.342, while New England saw the smallest increase of the week, $0.012, to finish at $3.205. The average price of diesel across the entire East Coast is now $3.153.

Despite this week’s increase, the year-to-year price comparison actually improved across the board, as diesel prices spiked 6.1 cents a year ago at this time.

After seesawing for a couple of days, crude oil prices started Tuesday on an upswing. Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil, was up 8 cents by 9 a.m. Eastern Time,  to $71.26 a barrel, while U.S. crude gained 25 cents, to stand at $63.65.

Click for a complete list of average prices by region for the past three weeks.

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