Chevron sets high bar for petroleum distribution quality
Oct 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Charles E Wilson
Looking beyond the on-board monitoring requirement, the Global Marketing Logistics unit developed a comprehensive catalog of vehicle specifications both for the Chevron proprietary truck fleet and contract carriers. Chevron's Global Truck Standard is Element six in the Road Transport safety Management Plan.
The standard offers maximum flexibility to enable Chevron and its contract carriers to meet various design standards and regulations in different parts of the world, while ensuring that critical elements are met. The oil company does not stipulate vehicle or component brand names in most cases. It is primarily a performance standard.
Conventional or cabover trucks are acceptable. Daycabs are preferred, but sleeper cabs are allowed in special circumstances. Trucks must be powered by a diesel engine with eight to 10 horsepower per 900 kilograms (1,980 pounds) of gross combined vehicle weight. Chevron has encouraged a shift to tractor-trailer combinations, but various straight truck configurations are used by the company and its contractors.
“Tank trucks are still a big part of our distribution operation, especially overseas,” Fleming says. “Our goal is to expand the use of tractors and semi-trailers to optimize productivity. However, infrastructure limitations affect what we do in some countries. We have some truck-and-trailer combinations in the United States, but the fleet here is predominantly tractor and semi-trailer.”
In the United States, Chevron has standardized on Peterbilt 384 daycab conventionals with Caterpillar C13 engines rated at 410 horsepower for tractors. Trucks used in super tanker truck-and-trailer configuration are powered by a 430-hp Cat engine. Tractors get a 10-speed Fuller Roadranger, and super tankers have a 13-speed gear box.
Truck safety features required by Chevron include a battery isolation switch, speed limiting device, wheel chocks, and plenty of mirrors. The oil company also requires roll stability systems on all new vehicles.
Chevron is ordering Bendix roll stability systems on company-owned new tractors and trailers in North America. “We were one of the first companies to order roll stability on the Peterbilt 385 daycab tractor,” Mosser says. “In fact, Peterbilt and Bendix used our truck to set the parameters for the system. We're pushing roll stability in all of the areas where Chevron operates worldwide. We want roll stability used wherever it is available, and we're not going to back off on this requirement.”
Heil Trailer International is the primary tank trailer supplier for the Chevron fleet. Trailers used in the United States are constructed to DOT406 code and have four compartments with a total capacity of 9300 gallons.
Tank hardware on US trailers includes Dixon Bayco elbows and API outlets, Civacon vapor recovery, Jikoh sight glasses, EBW brake interlock, and Scully overfill protection. The newest trailers have Hendrickson's Intraax air suspension, Meritor tire inflation, Michelin X One single tires, and Alcoa aluminum disc wheels.
Cargo tanks should be constructed of aluminum (alloy 5454), and the tank shape should be elliptical. Every effort should be made to achieve a low center of gravity, and the tank should be sloped to enable drain-dry unloading on a 5% slope. Chevron typically uses cargo tank compartment of different capacities, and each compartment should have a spray deflector mounted above the inlet/outlet.
All cargo tank vehicles are to be configured for bottom loading even if top loading is the current practice. Brake interlock devices are required. Discharge outlets should have Plexiglas sight glasses. Product security systems are to be installed wherever required by Chevron.
Chevron requires fall protection on any cargo tank vehicle that routinely has drivers or other personnel climbing on top. Acceptable systems include a dual collapsible rail, Standfast TRAM unit, and dual cable/harness arrangement.
Chevron has begun to call for air suspensions on all non-steer axles. The company also wants automatic tire inflation systems on tank trailers. Aluminum wheels should be standard.
Trucks and tractors used in Chevron distribution operations must be less than 10 years old. Cargo tanks can remain in service longer, subject to government and Chevron limits. Vehicles should be maintained according to manufacturer recommendations on a pre-determined schedule. All maintenance must be documented.
Fleet operating requirements are covered in Element seven. Every effort is made to maximize fleet productivity without compromising safety. In the US fleet, slip-seating is common, and most Chevron locations run 3.5 drivers per truck. Ideally, the truck is on the road 22 hours a day, seven days a week.
Driver fatigue gets plenty of attention. Chevron sets a corporate driving limit of 12 hours in a 24-hour period for areas of the world with few driving regulations. Drivers can be on duty no more than 14 hours in a 24-hour period, and they can drive no more than 72 hours in a seven-day period. Chevron follows Department of Transportation hours of service requirements in the United States and is rolling out a comprehensive new fatigue management program to educate drivers and their families on the need for drivers to get adequate rest.
Fleet performance is monitored throughout the Chevron Global Marketing Logistics operation. At a minimum, Element eight calls for Chevron fleet managers and contract carriers to track motor vehicle crashes, days away from work due to injuries, total recordable injuries, product spills, and product mixes/contaminations. A Road Transport System compliance assessment is conducted annually on each carrier.
Contract carrier management is addressed in Element nine. Chevron officials meet quarterly with carriers, and they provide a carrier performance scorecard. Every effort is made to build a solid long-term relationship with each carrier partner. Chevron officials encourage carrier executives to take a proactive approach in building better operations. They also encourage the sharing of best practices.
Chevron Road Transport Safety managers inspect contract carrier equipment before it hauls the first load. Random spot equipment inspections also are conducted at Chevron terminals.
Going beyond the carrier partners, Chevron works with the communities where it has fuels distribution operations to improve the driving environment and road safety in general. This is Element ten, and the final step, in the Road Transport Safety Management Plan.
Chevron's Global Marketing Logistics managers continue to refine the elements in the Road Transport Safety Plan. They won't be satisfied until they have the best fuels distribution program in the world.
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