JBK Inc knows importance of power unit specifications
Oct 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Mary Davis
Most recently the carrier restructured its Southeast organization that includes a new regional office in Montgomery, Alabama. That office is the control center of the region and will oversee the terminals that include Memphis, Tennessee; Augusta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Richmond, Virginia.
“It is felt that operating the region from a central location will allow us to better utilize our resources and equipment as well as maximize the benefits for our customers and our company drivers and owner-operators,” says Davis.
As part of the Southeast reorganization, a new 603-square-foot office and 2,400-square-foot, two-bay shop are in operation in Augusta. Other terminals with shops include Fontana and Ontario, California; Rock Springs, Wyoming; Great Bend, Kansas; Baytown, Texas; Gonzales, Louisiana; Theodore, Alabama; and Coffeyville, Kansas. The facilities perform general maintenance while more complicated procedures are conducted at the new flagship Amarillo terminal.
The new two-story 16,000-square-foot terminal is home for dispatch, maintenance, a $174,000 parts inventory, safety department, and employee training. The six-bay shop is a vital factor for insuring the carrier meets its customer commitments.
“No longer can we just ask a customer for business,” says Davis. “We have to demonstrate our ability to meet their demand. One way to do that is to have equipment in peak condition.”
In addition, the carrier has upgraded its fleet by purchasing an average of 10 new tank trailers over the past five years and about 120 in the past decade. Today, the fleet numbers almost 250 tank trailers and over 280 tractors (109 are owned by contract drivers).
Tank trailers are supplied by Alloy Custom Products Inc, James Russell Engineering Works Inc, and Texas Trailer Corp. A variety of trailers are in the fleet, including non-spec, MC331, and MC338 cargo tanks. Used to haul products such as carbon dioxide, the MC331 trailers have 5,600-gallon Trinity tanks with Blackmer pumps and Kubota diesel engines. Other trailers for hauling products like argon, nitrogen, and oxygen range in capacity from 7,600 gallons to 9,000 gallons. The MC 338 cargo tanks are used for flammables and include natural gas (methane) and liquid ethylene.
Tank trailers undergo general preventive maintenance at 8,000 miles. The pony engines mounted on the trailers are inspected every four months because of their heavy usage in driving pumps. At 250,000 miles the trailers receive wheel bearings and nut changes. The shops perform all trailer repairs, whether components or running gear.
Tractor preventive maintenance includes general inspection at 8,000 miles followed by oil change at 24,000 miles. Valves and injectors are adjusted at 100,000 miles, and lubricants are changed at 500,000 miles. Most service work is done at JBK shops with warranty work going to dealers.
Handling all of this equipment is a driver force of 315, almost 200 of them company employed, and another 115-plus owner-operators. Their training is directed by Lee Drury, director of safety.
“Our safety department has 175 combined years of experience with compressed gases, cryogenic liquids, and environmental regulations and 260 combined years of experience in the trucking industry,” Drury says.
Driver applicants must be at least 25 years old, have two years over-the-road experience, and hold a current commercial driver license with hazardous materials endorsement. Applicants will not be considered if they have convictions for driving under influence (DUI), operating under influence (OUI), or driving while impaired (DWI) within the past 10 years.
“All of our new hires receive six-to-seven days of classroom training here in Amarillo before they begin in-cab training at their terminals,” Drury says. “Our goal is that they know every skill — how to load, how to unload specific products. It may take months just to learn how to handle liquid hydrogen. JBK has several in-cab trainers that then take the new hires and complete their hands-on training.”
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