Building tomorrow's transportation company model
Apr 21, 2010 3:40 PM, By Charles E Wilson
Dupré Logistics continued...
“The new engines, with all of the emission control technology, bring a 700-pound increase,” Choate says. “We're trying to avoid increased tare weight by pulling weight out of other components, and we believe we'll just about break even with our new specifications.
“In addition, we're switching from automated to manual transmissions. We believe the manual transmission will be a better fit for our operation. We had seen higher operating and maintenance costs with the automated transmissions. We believe we will have less downtime with the manual gearboxes.”
The fleet runs a mix of widebase and dual tires tractor drive and trailer positions. Widebase tires perform well in petroleum and over-the-road operations. Duals are best for severe-service applications.
About 500 tractors and trailers in the fleet have been fitted with the Stemco Air Bat tire-pressure monitor. “We believe the Air Bat will help us avoid run-flats and save some widebase tires,” Choate says. “A warning light flashes on the tractor dash when tire pressure drops below 95 psi.”
The company runs a diverse trailer fleet. More than 150 are petroleum units, all of them built by Heil Trailer International. The carrier runs 9,200-gallon units across the system, and 10,200-gallon petroleum trailers are specified for Louisiana.
The company has standardized on Civacon hardware for the trailers. Also standard are aluminum side guards. Newer trailers have lifting rear axle for more fuel-efficient operation when the cargo tank is empty.
Brenner Trailer LLC supplies the 5,000- and 7,000-gallon stainless steel chemical trailers in the fleet. The carrier specifies straight-barrel and double-conical units, most of them insulated. Hardware includes Betts outlets and Girard and Fort Vale vents.
Five maintenance shops spread between New Orleans, Louisiana, and Houston, Texas, keep the fleet in top running order. “Our maintenance operation focuses primarily on preventive and routine service for our tractors,” says Chester Pommier, area maintenance manager for Dupré Logistics. “We haven't overhauled an engine in more than 10 years.”
On the trailer side, the shops handle virtually all of the tank testing and inspections for the fleet. Code vessel repairs are made at the Duson, Louisiana, shop that has an “R” stamp and two qualified welders. Dupré Logistics has handled tank repairs in-house since the 1990s.
Clearly, Dupré Logistics' management team believes it has the pieces in place to achieve long-term success with its unique transportation and logistics model. Management has absolutely no doubt that the company will double in size over the next three years.
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