All That's Trucking

Former Truck Fleet Innovator Shares Frustrations, Opportunities

November 5, 2013

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James Burg Trucking emphasizes productivity and efficiency, with innovative lightweight specs.
James Burg Trucking emphasizes productivity and efficiency, with innovative lightweight specs.

I had the fortune of sitting with a former HDT Truck Fleet Innovator during a luncheon at the American Trucking Associations' recent Management Conference and Exhibition, and got to hear what's on his mind, from e-logs to CSA to truck efficiency.

Jim Burg is one of the smaller fleet executives to have earned HDT's Innovator title, which he did in 2010 for his attention to lightweight specs and productivity. He impressed me because he turned that same focused attention to every part of his operation, James Burg Trucking, a less-than-100-truck fleet out of Warren, Mich.

Today he's running around 80 trucks operating in Michigan and surrounding states pulling flatbed trailers, including Michigan trains.

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Jim Burg, former HDT Truck Fleet Innovator
Jim Burg, former HDT Truck Fleet Innovator

I asked him how business was going and what his main concerns were. Here are a few highlights:

• He has only grown his fleet slightly, and is at capacity, which allows him to turn down the cheapest loads.

• Uncertainty is keeping him from making more investments in his fleet. He wants to invest in technology such as collision mitigation, but he says he has to buy new trucks to do that, and uncertainty is keeping him from buying.

• He is investing in new trailers to take advantage of new productivity laws in Michigan and Indiana that will allow him to carry more freight.

• "Obamacare isn't the end of the world. It's expensive, but it's not going to take me down." He already offered employees health insurance.

• Although he's transitioning to electronic logs, Burg is not happy with the recent hours of service changes. "Once everything is solidified with e-logs then we will really see how bad the impact is on productivity industry-wide."

• CSA, the DOT's Compliance, Safety, Accountability enforcement regime, is one of his biggest frustrations. "I just came off my best safety year ever, with only one preventable crash – but I'm deficient in the Crash BASIC because of things I can't control, like a car hitting my truck while it was being chased by police. My insurance company is saying 'attaboy,' but my CSA score says I don't know what I'm doing."

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Author Bio

Deborah Lockridge

Editor in Chief

All That's Trucking blog is just that – the editor's take on anything and everything related to trucking, with the help of guest posts from other HDT editors. Author Deborah Lockridge's career as an award-winning trucking journalist started in 1990.

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