Viva Vegas

July 1, 2007
LAS VEGAS has been a perennial favorite for members of National Tank Truck Carriers, and this year was no exception. The association recorded the largest

LAS VEGAS has been a perennial favorite for members of National Tank Truck Carriers, and this year was no exception. The association recorded the largest turnout ever for its 59th Annual Conference and Tank Truck Equipment Show, which was held May 7-9 at the Mandalay Bay Resort.

Approximately 600 members, associates, suppliers, and guests attended this year's event. Suppliers displayed a wide array of products at 68 booths, and traffic through the exhibit area was brisk.

An array of topics was discussed during the conference, including recent trends in tanker rollovers. Bill Quade, associate deputy administrator of enforcement and compliance at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), said the agency has tracked what appears to be an increasing number of tanker rollovers. He called on NTTC members to work with FMCSA to address the problem. To that end, NTTC announced that a committee would be appointed to discuss the use of vehicle stability control systems on tanker rigs.

Turning to economic issues, American Trucking Associations Chairman Patrick Quinn said that a vibrant and healthy trucking industry is absolutely vital to a strong US economy. He added that steps must be taken to stem falling productivity in the trucking industry. Factors contributing to declining productivity include traffic congestion and the growing driver shortage.

NTTC announced two initiatives designed to address the driver factor. First, the association is conducting a driver turnover survey that can be used in driver recruiting and benchmarking efforts. Second, an NTTC committee will work with an advertising agency to develop a campaign that touts the tank truck industry as a good place to work.

Driver shortages aside, the economic outlook for the tank truck industry is reasonably good, according to Martin Labbe, Martin Labbe Associates. While fleets may see some spot slowdowns in bulk commodity shipments, most tank truck carriers will be busy at least through the end of this year.

Labbe was particularly optimistic about the outlook for carriers transporting cargoes related to renewable fuels. At this point, the sky is the limit for shipments of cargoes, such as ethanol, biodiesel, and the feedstocks and chemicals used to produce them.

Shippers were a big part of this year's conference. Topics discussed included ways to improve shipper/carrier efficiency, a new carrier selection initiative, and a common computer language for tendering orders for chemical shipments.

Improving efficiency through better technology also was the focus of a presentation by David Mook, TMW Systems Inc. He pointed out that fleet management systems have evolved to the point that they can seamlessly link carriers and shippers.

Lanny L Wilhelm, president of Liquid Transport Corp, was elected 2007-2008 chairman. Previously, Wilhelm was Region 3 vice-chairman.

NTTC's 60th annual conference and tank truck equipment show is headed for Broadway. The event will be held at the Marriott New York Marquis May 18-20, 2008 in New York City, New York.