Savannah, GA,
06:28 PM

Bear Trucking Inc.


"To grow steadily, we need to field equipment that would make us more valuable to our customers," says Chris Moore, VP of Operations at Bear Trucking, Inc. "Choosing Great Dane to fill our trailer needs was not a mistake. It was a very positive decision on our part."

"To grow steadily, we need to field equipment that would make us more valuable to our customers," says Chris Moore, VP of Operations at Bear Trucking, Inc. "Choosing Great Dane to fill our trailer needs was not a mistake. It was a very positive decision on our part."

Based in San Bernardino, Calif., Bear Trucking has grown considerably. Founded in 1988 with one truck and one trailer, today the company operates 65 tractors and 225 trailers from two southern California locations. The common carrier services clients throughout 11 western states with regular hauls to the San Joaquin Valley, the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento areas, the Central Coast, Las Vegas, Phoenix and the entire Southern California market.

An exclusive beverage carrier for an Irwindale, Calif., brewery, Bear Trucking has focused on specifying lightweight dry vans that allow it to carry heavier loads than its competitors. Meeting those needs are 96 Great Dane 48-ft by 96-inch dry vans, including 80 new trailers added to the fleet in the past 14 months.

"A standard day cab tractor and 48-ft trailer for over-the-road use in the beverage market can haul about 48,000 lbs of freight," Moore says. "Our goal was to spec equipment that can handle loads up to 53,000 lbs and with Great Dane's help we have achieved that objective. Before we began buying Great Danes we would reach our maximum carrying capacity in weight before the trailer was full. Now we can put 5,000 more lbs of product on each load."

About half of the 5,000-lb increase in carrying capacity at Bear Trucking comes from lightweight trailer specs, Moore explains. The balance comes from lightweight specification for the fleet's tractors.

The aluminum sheet and post trailers added to the Bear Trucking fleet feature weight saving components in many areas. Included are aluminum for sidewall posts, spaced on 24-inch centers from the landing gear to the rear, roofs and roof bows, and a smooth finish dry cargo floor with a 12-inch wide threshold plate. There are also 4-inch aluminum I-Beam crossmembers on 8-inch centers in the bay area. The carrier also specs lightweight composite swing doors.

Bear Trucking is also specifying 445/50R22.5 Michelin XOne wide base single tires on Alcoa aluminum wheels on its new Great Dane dry vans, along with Webb aluminum hubs and Vortex drums. Hendrickson sliding tandem axles and air ride suspensions, and Stemco aluminum hubcaps are standard as well.

Another reason that Bear Trucking started converting its trailer fleet to Great Danes in 2010 was what Moore calls "the manufacturer's attention to meeting our needs and its ability to deliver what we needed at a competitive price. Great Dane's knowledge of our industry was unequaled," he adds. "They used that knowledge to design a trailer for our operation and to steer us away from specs that might have limited the trailer's durability. In this business trailers have to stand up for the long haul. Great Dane understood that our needs included a consideration of long-term value."

Rapid growth has also been a driving force at Bear Trucking. Of the 80 new Great Danes to join the fleet in the past two years, only 15 were replacements. The company also requires a high trailer-to-tractor ratio to have the ability to easily handle peak demand during the summer with drop trailer programs. Their drivers can then deliver multiple shipments per day in the southern California market.

"The lightweight Great Dane dry vans enable us to meet that level of demand by carrying more freight per load," Moore states. "During slower periods we can use the trailers to reduce the number of hauls, which means running fewer miles and realizing the cost and environmental benefits of burning less fuel.

"Over the next two or three years, as we continue to grow," Moore concludes, "we'll add to our ultra lightweight trailer fleet. Based on our current success with Great Dane, it is highly likely we will standardize on this trailer. With the support of our customers, we could replace the rest of our fleet and add 50-100 Great Dane trailers in this time frame."

Refrigeration Leadership
Great Dane customers are boosting profits by using environmentally friendly technologies certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's SmartWay Transport partnership.

The collaboration between the freight industry and government designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel efficiency provides a list of technologies that can meet these requirements. On that list are several items for trailers. Included are aerodynamic devices that help save fuel by reducing the tractor-trailer gap and streamline air flow, such as side skirts and belly fairings. Automatic tire inflation systems, which maintain proper tire pressure even when the trailer is moving, extend tire life, lowering replacement costs and reducing fuel consumption. Lower rolling resistance, which leads to improved fuel economy, can result from the use of wide-base single tires. Using components made of aluminum or other lightweight materials can reduce empty weight, improving fuel efficiency. On trailers, weight can be cut by specifying aluminum posts and crossmembers, and with components such as aluminum wheels and hubs.