Con-way Freight, a less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier and subsidiary of Con-way Inc., has upgraded its fleet for 2015 with the purchase of 875 new Daimler Freightliner tractors to replace older units.
The replacements will help refresh the fleet and enable Con-way Freight to maintain one of the newest and most modern fleets in the LTL industry.
The company this year is taking delivery of approximately 450 of Freightliner’s Class 8 Cascadia model, which will be used in line-haul operations. The remaining deliveries will be the Freightliner M2 model, a Class 7 tractor that will be deployed primarily in city pickup and delivery service. The company also is adding 1,750 new trailers for its fleet this year, built by sister company Con-way Manufacturing. Both tractors and trailers have advanced aerodynamics packages to improve fuel economy.
“Upgrading our fleet with these advanced new tractors and trailers has many benefits,” said Tim Killilee, senior director of maintenance at Con-way Freight. “The new power units will provide greater fuel efficiency, as they are designed with better emission controls and features.”
“Most importantly, we have listened to our drivers and incorporated their feedback in the process, including features they’ve identified as being critical,” added Killilee. “We also are investing in safety, as these tractors are factory equipped with an in-cab suite of safety technologies that’s unrivaled in the industry. These systems complement and enhance the skills of our professional drivers and, in our view, represent the safest-equipped trucks on the highway.”
All of Con-way Freight’s new tractors are equipped with Drive Safe Systems, the company’s suite of driver alert and crash avoidance technologies. First adopted by Con-way in 2010, the technology suite includes forward-looking adaptive radar for front collision avoidance, lane departure warning and rollover stability control systems. In 2013, the safety technology platform was expanded to include Lytx Inc.’s DriveCam windshield-mounted, two-way event recorder system, as well as Vnomics Corp.’s electronic on-board performance management technology to maximize fuel efficiency.
The collision avoidance technology uses forward-looking radar to gauge the distance between the truck and vehicle ahead. As the truck approaches, if the driver does not brake in a timely manner, the system issues an auditory alert and automatically reduces engine rpm to proactively slow the truck. The other systems alert drivers to potential safety risks and help them respond, improve situational awareness, provide feedback to refine safe-driving skills and maximize fuel-efficient operations.
The Freightliner Cascadia trucks come equipped with automatic manual transmissions (AMT), which requires less physical interaction with the driver to accomplish shifting, whereas the Freightliner M2 units come with fully automatic transmissions. In both cases, without the need to operate a clutch and manually shift through the gears, drivers are able to place additional focus on traffic and road conditions, as well as proactive defensive-driving techniques.
As part of the annual purchasing process, the company hosts a “voice of the employee” meeting to gain insights and input from drivers about the equipment and any desired modifications to inform future purchases. This input — such as providing skylights and steps on trailers for better visibility and safety— is worked into the new equipment buys each year.
The company currently operates 8,750 tractors with 20,000 28-foot trailers and 6,000 longer-wheelbase city trailers. All line-haul trailers are outfitted with trailer skirts to improve trailer aerodynamics, reducing wind drag and contributing to improved fuel economy and trailer stability.