Diversification pays off for Bulk Carrier Services Inc
Nov 1, 2007 12:00 PM, By Mary Davis
While customer service is paramount in the BCS culture, keeping drivers satisfied shares equal status, Miller says. “Our tractor fleet includes vehicles with plenty of power to ease driver handling,” she points out.
BCS also selected Kenworth T800 tractors for maneuverability that is enhanced by set-back front axles. Specifying sun roofs and digital satellite radios with numerous channels also keeps drivers happy. “We think of the tractors as the drivers' homes,” says Miller.
The power units, supplied by Kenworth Sales Co in Las Vegas, consist mostly of 2006 and 2007 models with 72-inch AeroCab VIT flat top sleepers. Jeff Jorgensen of the Las Vegas dealership pointed out that BCS trucks are “nicely dressed with lots of stainless steel and polish and are equipped to handle a wide range of conditions. They are specified with 31-cubic-feet-per minute air compressors that make them capable of self unloading the trailers. We fine-tune the gearing, wheelbase, fifthwheel height, and other option choices to keep the tractor weight to a minimum while also maintaining performance and resale value.”
Powered by Caterpillar C-15 Acert multi-torque engines rated at 475 horsepower, the tractors have Fuller 18-speed transmissions with 1,850 foot-pounds of torque. Running gear includes Roadranger steering and drive axles, Kenworth air ride suspension, Bendix antilock braking with traction control, and Alcoa aluminum wheels. BCS specifies Bridgestone tires.
The carrier chose the Kenworth PremierCare Preventive Maintenance program that offers maintenance schedule choices and service levels, ranging from intermittent “dry inspections” to comprehensive, bumper-to-tail-light service packages. The program includes factory-recommended procedures and annual safety inspections. BCS tractors can be serviced on the road as well as when they are at home. The driver contacts the Kenworth program representatives, who in turn contact the nearest participating Kenworth dealer for an appointment.
The carrier also uses the Kenworth PremierCare Roadside Service program that includes a toll-free number to reach a service representative. Supported by mapping and communications technology, the customer representative contacts the nearest participating Kenworth dealer or designated Kenworth PremierCare provider to dispatch assistance or makes arrangements to get the truck into the shop immediately, if necessary.
The BCS fleet includes Polar and Brenner tank trailers, some rubber lined. The newest DOT407 tankers are specified with 7,000-gallon capacity and a 12-inch-drop double-conical design.
Components include Girard pressure-relief and vapor recovery vents and Betts CH47003-SST four-inch internal valves with secondary Betts three-inch Hydrolet valves. “We feel this is the safest and most sanitary valve combination available,” says Bennett.
Running gear includes Hendrickson air ride suspensions, MeritorWabco antilock brake system, and Alcoa aluminum wheels. Truck-Lite supplies lighting.
The trailers are plumbed with pressurization lines so that the driver can fully unload without climbing to the top of the tank. A fall protection cable is provided at the spill dam. “These specifications will be our future model for all our stainless steel tankers,” notes Bennett.
BCS has one Tankcon fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) tank trailer in the fleet. The DOT412 trailer has a 5,400-gallon tank with an air-driven top-mounted emergency valve. The unit is fully plumbed with air pressurization lines to the tank trailer and to the outlet manifolds to assist the driver in multiple stop deliveries. Currently the FRP tank trailer is in dedicated bleach service.
Miller and her managers say they believe the FRP tank trailer is the future for specialty tankers for the acid and bleach industry. “The ability to properly clean in order to switch products is essential to our business,” she says. “The FRP style tanker will be BCS's choice in the future for acid and bleach service.”
BCS has two Polar rubberlined tank trailers in the fleet. They are 5,000-gallon chlorobutyl-lined tanks with air actuated bottom-mounted emergency valves. These tank trailers are dedicated to hydrochloric acid and bleach service.
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