Saturday, August 29, 2009

YRC Worldwide's Woes a Benefit to Arkansas Best LTL Unit

ABF Freight System, the largest operating unit of Arkansas Best Corp., is negotiating with the Teamsters unit over wage and pension concessions.

ABF, the nation's sixth-largest LTL company with $1.83 billion revenue last year, operates in the same troubled, unionized, long-haul LTL segment that YRC Worldwide. Financially ailing YRC recently obtained a five-year 15 percent wage cut as well as an 18-month pension freeze, savings that could amount to nearly $900 million a year for YRC.

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YRC Worldwide expands guaranteed delivery services

YRC Worldwide Inc. is expanding its guaranteed delivery-time services throughout all its operating companies in response to supplier delivery requirement changes by leading retailers.

In a Friday release, the Overland Park-based trucking company (Nasdaq: YRCW) said the guaranteed-delivery services are designed to help retail suppliers avoid costly charge-backs when deliveries are late. The services also help retailers accurately project and accept delivery of merchandise in their distribution centers, warehouses and stores.

The company didn’t say how much revenue it expects the expanded services to generate.

A YRC spokeswoman sent the following statement to the Kansas City Business Journal:

“A significant portion the company’s revenue is attributed to the retail segment, and time-critical and guaranteed windows have become big elements in this space. Retail suppliers need to hit precise windows in order to avoid penalties and fees. The expanded offering continues the company’s expertise in supply-chain solutions, and attracts and retains customers who need to meet these narrow windows of opportunity with retailers.”

YRC Inc., the largest transportation unit of YRC Worldwide, offers a standard or guaranteed Multiday Window delivery service throughout North America.

YRC’s Holland operating company started offering retail suppliers in the central United States single-hour, multihour, single-day and multiday delivery window capabilities in January. YRC’s Reddaway operating company in May introduced the same capabilities to regional customers in the West, and New Penn offers the service to customers in the Northeast.

“We continue to see a rise in the number of major retailers implementing ‘must arrive by date’ ... and delivery window supplier requirements,” John Garcia, executive vice president and chief sales officer for YRC Worldwide, said in the release. “With our recent portfolio expansions, all YRC Worldwide companies offer solutions that precisely address delivery window needs, providing our customers with unmatched flexibility and reliability.”

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

ABF Driver Tony Spero Earns Top Honors at National Truck Driving Championships

ABF Freight System, Inc., driver Anthony (Tony) Spero won the National Championship in the Tank Truck Class during the 72nd National Truck Driving Championships, August 18-22, 2009, in Pittsburgh. This is Spero's second National Championship. He also won the Flatbed Class during the 2006 championships.

Professional drivers earn the right to compete in the National Championships by winning state driving championships and by maintaining accident-free driving records for the past year.

Spero, a city driver at the ABF Stratford Connecticut , service center, was one of 20 state champion drivers representing ABF in the national competition. Spero qualified for the national competition by winning the tank truck class in Connecticut's state championship, where he was named 2009 Grand Champion. His record of accomplishment includes two Connecticut Grand Champion awards and nine state championship victories since 1997. A former America's Road Team Captain and a three-time member of the ABF Road Team, Spero has driven more than 20 years accident free.

"Thanks to the commitment and leadership of outstanding employees like Tony Spero, ABF has a well-earned reputation as a trusted supply-chain partner," said Jim McFarlin, ABF safety and security director. "The drive and dedication of such productive, conscientious professionals bring unmatched value-added logistics solutions to ABF customers. Everyone at ABF greatly appreciates the dedication and hard work Tony puts into every endeavor. We are proud of the way he represents both ABF and the trucking industry at large."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

YRC gets little interest in sale of New Penn

YRC Worldwide Inc. has been exploring sales of subsidiaries that include New Penn Motor Express Inc. but has received little interest, its union said.

That leaves New Penn union workers with little choice if they want to keep the subsidiary operating past September, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters members said in a letter to New Penn members. Falling trucking valuations and the potential of having to cover unpaid pension payments have kept most potential buyers away, the union said in the letter, dated Aug. 18.

The union sent a second set of ballots to New Penn Teamsters on Aug. 19. The group was among a minority that last month voted down concessions to Overland Park-based YRC (Nasdaq: YRCW), and the union has said YRC is looking into merging regional carrier New Penn into its national unit, which could eliminate hundreds of jobs. That prompted the revote, due Sept. 9.

“Unfortunately, we have been formally notified by YRCW’s vice president of labor relations, and have also accumulated evidence from the field, that YRCW is prepared to shut down New Penn entirely and rebrand all remaining equipment and terminals as YRC exclusively going forward,” the letter said. “As difficult and distasteful as a revote is to conduct, it is our firm belief that New Penn Motor Express will not exist as a motor carrier past September if the (concessions are) rejected again.”

New Penn workers have railed against an extra 5 percent pay cut and giving up 18 months of pension payments, in part because their unit has been profitable for years. But they’re lumped in with a group of regional carriers — including Holland and Reddaway — whose revenues through June have dropped 33 percent from the same period last year and which posted an operating loss of more than $120 million in the first half of 2009, the union said.

New Penn represents about 4 percent of all employees and revenue for YRC, so it doesn’t add enough profitability to prompt YRC to exempt its workers from the companywide cuts, the union said.

If YRC were to file for bankruptcy or change hands, the concessions would end.

The trucking company has been deferring and eliminating pension payments, laying off thousands of workers, selling property, renegotiating lender agreements, integrating subsidiaries, seeking union concessions and taking various other steps so that it can keep enough cash to continue operating.

S & P Removes YRC Worldwide from CreditWatch List

Credit ratings firm acknowledges progress at YRC, but underscores continued weakness in LTL market

Credit ratings firm Standard & Poor’s removed YRC Worldwide from its CreditWatch list this month, but maintained a “negative outlook” for the trucking company as weak volumes and competitive pricing pressure less-than-truckload carriers.

S&P pulled YRC Worldwide off CreditWatch Aug. 14 after Teamsters employees at YRCW’s largest less-than-truckload subsidiaries accepted wage and benefits cuts.

The financial intelligence division of McGraw-Hill placed YRC — the largest less-than-truckload operator in the U.S., when ranked by 2008 revenue — on its CreditWatch list with “negative implications” in April.

YRC Worldwide, burdened by debt as well as falling demand for its services amid intense competition, has lost more than $2 billion since 2007.

However, the carrier recently negotiated a second round of wage and benefit cuts with the Teamsters union that would save it more than $800 million by the end of next year. A majority of Teamsters at the company's largest subsidiaries approved those cuts Aug. 7.

S&P maintained its negative outlook on YRC Worldwide, rating its corporate credit as "CCC." A CCC rating means a company is "vulnerable," according to S&P, and "dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions to meet its financial commitments."

YRC carrier votes again after rejecting concessions

About 1,500 drivers and dockworkers at New Penn, a YRC Worldwide Inc. regional carrier, rejected the concessions accepted by most YRC Teamsters members earlier this month.

A revote began last week. This time, declining to accept the revised contract that reduces wages 5 percent more could cost many New Penn employees their jobs, the union said.

New Penn is a regional less-than-truckload company that operates mainly in the Northeast. Its employees are covered by a contract separate from the national agreement most freight industry Teamsters work under. YRC’s biggest units, YRC Inc. and USF Holland, approved the cuts to the national contract, including allowing YRC to suspend monthly pension fund payments until January 2011.

In a letter to New Penn union workers last week, Teamsters national freight director Tyson Johnson said YRC requested an emergency meeting with the union’s national bargaining team after the vote count.

“During the Aug. 11 meeting, the company indicated that it plans to call for a change of operations in the near future to merge New Penn into YRCW,” Johnson said. “Because the merger could cost hundreds of Teamsters jobs, the majority of New Penn local unions have also requested a revote by New Penn members.”

Essentially, industry observers said New Penn would be closed if it were to merge with YRC’s other carriers, a prospect that most likely will change the vote’s outcome this time.

Members of three Teamsters locals in the Chicago area, also under their own contracts with YRC, also rejected the concessionary proposal. They most likely will also hold revotes facing the same prospect of job losses.

YRC said bargaining units representing less than 10 percent of the company’s union employees have not yet ratified the contract revisions.

“The company and the Teamsters are addressing employee concerns for these smaller bargaining units to reconsider the modifications,” YRC said. “The company has not filed any change of operations affecting the network status of New Penn.”

The mailed ballots for the New Penn revote are expected to be counted on Sept. 9.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bringing a smile to a child's face

YRC, a subsidiary of YRC Worldwide and Christina’s Smile Children’s Dental Clinic offered free dental care to needy children Aug. 5 at the YRC, Inc. terminal in Akron. Dr. Garza provided free dental care to children throughout the day.

In Akron, the dental clinic was conducted in conjunction with the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The children were selected and organized by St. Bernard’s Church.

Christina’s Smile Children’s Dental Clinic is a program that delivers dental treatment to disadvantaged children at no charge to them, their parents, or the identifying agencies.

The clinic travels in two 53-foot trailers. Each trailer houses three fully equipped dental suites. Local dentists volunteer to provide dental care to children selected by charitable organizations in each community the clinic visits.

In 2009, 21 Clinics will be conducted to treat more than 2,400 children and provide more than $1,500,000 worth of dentistry to children who might not otherwise receive the care they so desperately need.

YRC, Inc. has supported Christina’s Smile for the past 20 years by moving and maintaining the 53-foot trailers that house the mobile dental clinics free of charge.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

2009 National Truck Driving Champions Announced

Dale L. Duncan, a Con-way Freight professional truck driver based in San Diego, Calif. was named the 2009 National Truck Driving Grand Champion.

Dale's driving skills and knowledge of transportation and truck safety information topped those of 415 other professional drivers from all across the United States in the National Truck Driving Championships, held in Pittsburgh, Pa. The 72nd annual "Super Bowl of Safety" is sponsored by the American Trucking Associations.

National Champions:

Straight Truck Class

1st Place: Robert (Bob) J. Dolan - Con-way Freight (Catasauqua, Pa.)

2nd Place: Leroy Williams, Sr. - Con-way Freight (Zachary, La.)

3rd: Place: Brent A. Glasenapp - FedEx Express (Franklin, Wis.)

Three-Axle Class

1st Place: Don Logan - FedEx Freight (Eskridge, Kan.)

2nd Place: Brian Clark - FedEx Express (Pittsboro, Ind.)

3rd Place: Joe Mangiaracino - FedEx Freight (Sullivan, Mo.)

Four-Axle Class

1st Place: Mike Stickley - Con-way Freight (Winchester, Va.)

2nd Place: Tim Dean - Werner Enterprises, Inc. (Omaha, Neb.)

3rd Place: Darryl Dodd - Wal-Mart Transportation, LLC (Phil Campbell, Ala.)

Five-Axle Class

1st Place: Dale Duncan - Con-way Freight (San Diego, Calif.)

2nd Place: Ray Jackson - H-E-B Grocery Co. (San Antonio, Texas)

3rd Place: J.W. (Jesse) Ballard - YRC (Portland, Ore.)

Sleeper Berth Class

1st Place: Troy Swenson - FedEx Freight (Watertown, S.D.)

2nd Place: Ralph Garcia - ABF Freight System, Inc. (Rio Rancho, N.M.)

3rd Place: John Hummel - UPS Freight (Gaffney, S.C.)

Twins Class

1st Place: Mark McLean - FedEx Freight (Gardiner, N.Y.)

2nd Place: Chris Poynor - Con-way Freight (Pasco, Wash.)

3rd Place: Stacy Sansom - YRC (Shreveport, La.)

Flatbed Class

1st Place: Mick Simpson - Family Dollar Trucking, Inc. (Rose Hill, N.C.)

2nd Place: Rich Sweeney - Con-way Freight (Springfield, Mass.)

3rd Place: Rick Kinsey - Con-way Freight (Winchester, Va.)

Tank Truck Class

1st Place: Tony Spero - ABF Freight (Stratford, Conn.)

2nd Place: Jon Hume - FedEx Freight (Hillsboro, Mo.)

3rd Place: Dennis Chambers - Crete Carrier Corporation (Spartanburg, Neb.)

Step Van Class

1st Place: David Thompson - FedEx Ground (Alexander, Ark.)

2nd Place: Skippy LeBlanc - FedEx Ground (Seaford, Del.)

3rd Place: Nick Paradiso - FedEx Ground (Portland, Ore.)

2009 National Truck Driving Championships Finalists Announced

The finalists for the 2009 National Truck Driving Championships were announced early this morning after a three day competition that tested driver's knowledge of safety, equipment, the industry and driving skills. Considered the "Super Bowl of Safety," the competition is in the midst of a drive-off.

The top three drivers in each of the eight competing categories, along with the affiliated step van competition, will now run a specially designed obstacle course that will be unveiled this morning to determine the top driver. At the end of the day, the best driver from all eight categories will be named, with one driver named the 2009 National Grand Champion Truck Driver.

2009 National Truck Driving Championship Finalists

Straight Truck Class

Robert (Bob) J. Dolan - Con-way Freight (Catasauqua, Pa.)
Brent A. Glasenapp - FedEx Express (Franklin, Wis.)
Leroy Williams, Sr. - Con-way Freight (Zachary, La.)

3-Axle Class

Brian Clark - FedEx Express (Pittsboro, Ind.)
Don Logan - FedEx Freight (Eskridge, Kan.)
Joe Mangiaracino - FedEx Freight (Sullivan, Mo.)

4-Axle Class

Mike Stickley - Con-way Freight (Winchester, Va.)
Tim Dean - Werner Enterprises, Inc. (Omaha, Neb.)
Darryl Dodd - Wal-Mart Transportation, LLC (Phil Campbell, Ala.)

5-Axle Class

Dale Duncan - Con-way Freight (San Diego, Ca.)
Ray Jackson - H-E-B Grocery Co. (San Antonio, Texas)
J.W. (Jesse) Ballard - YRC (Portland, Ore.)

Flatbed Class

Rick Kinsey - Con-way Freight (Winchester, Va.)
Rich Sweeney - Con-way Freight (Springfield, Mass.)
Mick Simpson - Family Dollar Trucking, Inc. (Rose Hill, N.C.)

Tank Truck Class

Tony Spero - ABF Freight (Stratford, Conn.)
Dennis Chambers - Crete Carrier Corporation (Spartanburg, Neb.)
Jon Hume - FedEx Freight (Hillsboro, Mo.)

Twins Class

Mark McLean - FedEx Freight (Gardiner, N.Y.)
Stacy Sansom - YRC (Shreveport, La.)
Chris Poynor - Con-way Freight (Pasco, Wash.)

Sleeper Berth Class

Ralph Garcia - ABF Freight System, Inc. (Rio Rancho, N.M.)
John Hummel - UPS Freight (Gaffney, S.C.)
Troy Swenson - FedEx Freight (Watertown, S.D.)

Step Van

Skippy LeBlanc - FedEx Ground (Seaford, Del.)
Nick Paradiso - FedEx Ground (Portland, Ore.)
David Thompson - FedEx Ground (Alexander, Ark.)