Oakhurst Dairy has long billed its dairy products as “the Natural Goodness of Maine,” and the company has made strides in recent years to live up to that slogan in every aspect of its operations. This is especially true of the company’s fleet of trucks, which carry its products throughout New England. 

The company has focused on reducing the harmful emissions its trucks generate by converting a large portion of its fleet to biodiesel. Not only has this resulted in a significant reduction in the amount of greenhouse gases the company’s activities put out into the environment, but it also has resulted in numerous accolades for its forward-thinking initiatives. 

When delivering mass-market merchandise, operating at high efficiency is critical. With its innovative and integrated systems, NTB is delivering for its customers with the highest efficiency. “In our database, we have the ability to not only evaluate fuel economy by truck and drive-line configuration, but we also are able to parse the data in such a way that we can evaluate fuel economy by trailer,” President Henry Schwarz asserts. “So we make adjustments to a trailer by changing out our brake system, our tires, suspension, aerodynamics – we’re able to measure what the effect is in regard to that.”

Schwarz’s son, Dan Schwarz, has his own engineering firm that has done work for NTB, developing a rail guard system to improve trailer aerodynamics. “We designed and manufacture our own dual directional spring systems for the skirt material, so that it’s pretty much impervious to corrosion and far more robust than the system in the marketplace. It will retract at a 45-degree angle in either direction without injury. So if you turn a corner and hit a snow bank, it will fold up underneath and come back to normal position once it is no longer in contact with the snow bank.”

Providing superior regional, next-day ground services is what New Penn is all about. An operating unit of YRC Regional Transportation, New Penn specializes in regional less-than-truckload (LTL) service, serving the northeastern United States, Quebec, Canada and Puerto Rico. The company has placed itself as an industry leader thanks in part to its tracking technologies and Internet-based shipping services.

“The company has been in existence for more than 80 years,” President Don Foust says. “The real strength of New Penn has been our ability to perform and provide the highest levels of quality to our customers.”

Companies looking for logistics services typically don’t want to waste a lot of time seeking out a different provider for each component of their supply chain operation. The more services a transportation service can offer to customers, the better, and that’s why customers throughout the Southeast, the Midwest and the Deep South turn to Milan Supply Chain Solutions. Executive Vice President Amy Cowen says the company’s ability to provide multiple services along the supply chain has helped it thrive after a recent restructuring and sale, and is the backbone of its success in serving customers ranging from retailers to manufacturers to the petrochemical industry. 

The company has been serving the Southeast since 1969, when it was founded as Milan Express with one truck and one trailer providing LTL trucking services out of Memphis. Over the years, the company acquired other carriers to build itself into a LTL provider with more than 1,000 trucks and 34 service centers throughout the Southeast and Midwest. In 2011, the company made the decision to sell off the LTL side of the business to focus on its current truckload and warehousing and distribution divisions. In September 2014, HCI Equity Partners, together with management, invested in the company to provide growth capital and rebranded the company as Milan Supply Chain Solutions. 

Navigating any new market can be tricky, but when two companies with extensive experience in the field come together, their combined expertise can give them a clear path to success. Such is the case for Mansfield Clean Energy Partners (MCEP), which combines the experience of one of America’s leaders in the transportation fuels logistics sector and an innovative builder of compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling stations that has been on the leading-edge of the emerging CNG market. 

President and COO Ira Pearl says MCEP benefits greatly from its roots in Mansfield Energy Corp. – which for more than 57 years has been a leader in the transportation fuels sector  – and Clean Energy Fuels, the nation’s largest builder of natural gas refueling stations. This partnership has given MCEP the brainpower and experience necessary to bring CNG to fleets in the bulk fuel-hauling market. Pearl says the company was formed in 2013 after Mansfield Energy Corp. noticed several of its large customers were beginning to convert portions of their fleets to CNG. 

Family owned and operated, Great Lakes Petroleum started out as a one-man, one-truck operation in 1976. Currently, the company has one of the largest and most responsive state-of-the-art transport and tank wagon fleets in the petroleum industry, capable of delivering from 300 gallons to 8,800 gallons directly to client locations. 

“Over the last 10 years, Great Lakes Petroleum has experienced tremendous growth and expansion,” Marketing Manager Laura Boone says. “Today, we have a fuel delivery fleet of more than 150 vehicles, more than 300 employees and provide service in 19 states east of the Mississippi.”

Five year ago, Bill Hood was working on a farm in central Illinois, often enduring subzero temperatures while loading trucks and performing a variety of other tasks. “My fingers were cracked and bleeding,” Hood recalls. “I said, ‘There’s got to be a better way.’”

Hood wrote a business plan in January 2010, secured some funding, and less than one year later was behind the wheel of a truck hauling his first load. The majority of Hood’s hauls were throughout the Midwest, but he traveled across the county when the opportunity presented itself. “I chased the money,” says Hood, who continued to work on farms during the harvest seasons.

Today, Hood and his wife, Lauren Hood, own Farm2Fleet, a successful owner-operator firm located in Chattanooga, Tenn. It recently was named one of North America’s 20 Best Fleets to Drive For by the Truckload Carriers Association. 

Although it does most of its trucking for its owner, Murphy Energy, Connect Transport still has to make a profit. “In the beginning, there was less pressure to be profitable, since we were more of a service company for Murphy Energy,” Connect Transport Director of Human Resources and Safety Heather Niccum concedes. “But now that we’ve become a bigger company, there’s more of a push for us to turn a profit.”

Founded in 2008, Connect Transport’s primary customer is Murphy Energy, but it does third-party hauling for other companies. “We’re constantly looking for ways we can be profitable,” Niccum emphasizes. “In the trucking industry, you have so many fixed costs – drivers, trucks, fuel, insurance and regulatory cost – and there’s not really anything you can do about those.”

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