J.B. Hunt announced yesterday that it will spend more than $1 billion to change all its highway tractors from cabovers to Freightliner Century Class conventionals over the next five years.

The exclusive agreement between the Arkansas-based trucking company and Freightliner calls for the delivery of as many as 15,000 trucks. The 70-inch Raised Roof Century Class trucks, powered by Cummins ISX and Detroit Diesel Series 60 engines, will be delivered starting in mid-September. J.B. Hunt is expected to take delivery of some 800 Century Class conventionals the rest of this year, and about 3,000 more next year.
With the move, the country's last major user of COEs is making a big change. The company had ordered nearly 2,000 Freightliner Argosy cabovers last year. While the Argosy didn't have many of the problems COEs were notorious for in the past, drivers apparently just didn't get as excited about the switch to the Argosy as they are about the switch to conventional tractors.
Freightliner will incorporate a portion of the traded-in Hunt COEs into its Legacy program, where the company harvests the engine, transmission and rear axles from a used cabover truck, remanufactures them, and combines them with a new cab and chassis to create a Class 8 day cab Legacy Class conventional tractor. J.B. Hunt will buy some of the Legacy Class tractors as part of the agreement.
Along with the Freightliner announcement, J.B. Hunt announced another significant change in policy. Beginning Labor Day weekend, the company will begin permanently assigning individual tractors to specific drivers.
For more information: http://www.jbhunt.com, http://www.freightliner.com.