Oct. 2 – Freightliner President and CEO Jim Hebe talked a lot about the benefits of size during his keynote address kicking off the Southern Trucking Expo in Atlanta yesterday.
For instance, he spoke about Freightliner’s Argosy concept vehicle, which uses the new Argosy cabover and an extra-long three-axle trailer to achieve higher payload and GVW in the same overall vehicle length. Hebe complained that the American Trucking Assns. and the railroads were on the same side, fighting against federal approval of the new “Class 9” configuration.
He also spoke about how Freightliner customers benefit from the company being part of a larger, global concern – Daimler-Benz, and now DaimlerChrysler. “From Stuttgart to Freightliner’s corporate headquarters, not to mention the addition of Chrysler, the amount of research is almost unimaginable,” he said. He predicted the limited application of fuel cell technology to drive systems on the vehicle “much sooner than you think.”
Hebe also predicted that for trucking companies, “size will win,” because of the high cost of technology. “Carrier alliances will explode and prosper. The competition among successful carriers has only just begun.”
“The future demands that we expand our reach, both geographically and vocationally,” he said. “It’s grow or die.”