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Year in review: Top tank truck stories from 2023

Dec. 27, 2023
Bulk Transporter’s most-viewed articles this year include in-depth fleet profiles, safety-focused stories, and further industry consolidation

This story was written by a human. Me, specifically.

I decided I should disclaim any robotic intervention from the outset—since the rise of artificial intelligence ruled many headlines in 2023, further complicating operations in an increasingly complex world. Certainly, many companies, like Lytx, Netradyne, and Samsara, are using AI to assist the trucking industry, but I doubt anyone with a pulse really wants autonomous tankers traveling America’s highways.

Yes, it is possible more advanced AI could have prevented this year’s disastrous hazmat headlines, including the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, and the collapse of the Interstate 95 off ramp in Philadelphia. But it’s equally possible cyber criminals would hack auto-piloted vehicles and turn them into roadblocks, like in the Netflix movie Leave the World Behind I had the misfortune of digesting during my Christmas break.

But I digress (and maybe ChatGPT would have better kept this article on track). What I’m trying to communicate here is 2023 was yet another interesting, infuriating, and often still inspiring age with tragedies, triumphs, and—more to the point for you—tank trucking challenges, including inflation-induced increases in the cost of equipment, and looming threat of California-controlled zero-emission vehicle timelines.

See also: Top tank truck stories from 2022

So, before turning our attention to what the New Year has in store for us, here’s a look back at Bulk Transporter’s Top 15 most-viewed articles and media galleries from the 23rd year of the 21st century, which once again featured in-depth fleet profiles, safety-focused stories, and further consolidation in the bulk logistics industry.

“Many of the seasoned family or individually owned businesses are disappearing rapidly,” Randy Clifford, National Tank Truck Carriers’ 75th chairman, observed in our April interview. “I was sitting with four past ATA chairmen about six months ago, and every one of them had sold their business in the last year or two, and I was thinking, ‘Wow, what am I missing here?’ So we’re seeing a lot of consolidation in the industry, and the big carriers are getting bigger. I hope there’s still room for new guys to rise up and fill those voids, but I don’t know.

“It’ll be interesting to see how that evolves.”

1. ‘Strange dichotomy’: Carriers slowly coming around to safer propane trailer

Exosent Engineering makes an MC-331 that is more driver friendly, and fuel efficient, and safer than a traditional “bottle” trailer used for transporting liquified natural gasses, and savvy bulk haulers will attest these atypical tanks are no joke.

2. Altom celebrates intermodal growth, nationwide expansion

Altom Transport celebrated its recent successes with an open house in March, and drivers—and Bulk Transporter readers—were exceedingly appreciative.

3. Quala to merge with Boasso Global

This move followed Quala’s addition of Polar Service Centers (PSC), the No. 6 most-viewed story from 2022, and set up another monumental development this year—the creation of Depot Connect International.

4. Business in balance: Grammer accelerates growth while guarding sacred ideals

One former family business now under private-equity ownership is determined to thrive well into the future by preserving its past.

5. Gemini interrupts Canadian sweep, claims NTTC’s first private-fleet championship

Harmac Transportation and Tandet Logistics transformed the Heil trophy into the Stanley Cup in a Canadian sweep of NTTC’s top for-hire championships, prompting a closer examination of our Northern neighbors’ safety contest performance.

6. Chemical attraction: Andrews Logistics accelerates expansion

The U.S. output of basic chemicals fell 2.5% in 2023, according to a recent American Chemistry Council report, but that didn’t stop Darron Eschle and Brian Jarvis from growing their chemical-hauling operations this year.

7. Odyssey sells Linden Bulk to Boasso

NTTC member Linden Bulk Transportation joined Boasso and Quala in a critical step toward DCI’s formation that was of particular interest to tank truck carriers.

8. Peterbilt unveils ‘legendary’ new Model 589

New tractors always turn heads—especially when they appeal to this Paccar manufacturer’s loyal trucking traditionalists.

9. Newman uncovers new advantages with Archview Tank Wash

Here’s a wash rack with a view—and cost-saving purpose—any bulk carrier can appreciate.

10. UPT agrees to acquire Florida Rock and Tank Lines for $65.9M

In one of the biggest M&A stories in the tank truck segment this year, United Petroleum Transports privatized Florida Rock & Tank Lines, forming a $200 million fuel hauler.

11. Plugging away at the green hydrogen highway

Hydrogen is the great green hope for long-haul truckers forced to reckon with this administration’s enthusiasm for electric trucks.

12. Essential service: KAG boosts food-grade cleaning capacity

The Kenan Advantage Group continues to add carriers, including Idaho Milk Transport and Koppers Performance Chemicals’ private fleet in 2023. This story explores how joining KAG’s operation helped Ag Trucking advance its objectives.

13. Hoffman’s elimination of rear-end crashes no accident

G&D Trucking/Hoffman Transportation is a two-time North American safety champion and the only carrier with two Professional Tank Truck Drivers of the Year. How did it achieve this dramatic distinction? Follow the link and find out.

14. Still growing: Innovation, adaptation power Groendyke’s deep-rooted prosperity

Groendyke’s leaders aren’t selling out. In fact, they’re already eyeing the family-owned carrier’s 100th anniversary after only recently reaching 90.

15. Xcellence emerges: XBL, partners turn heads in dry bulk logistics

Those convinced all private equity is evil should read this enlightening tale about one firm that is determined to alter the narrative.  

About the Author

Jason McDaniel

Jason McDaniel, based in the Houston TX area, has nearly 20 years of experience as an award-winning journalist. He spent 15 writing and editing for daily newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle, and began covering the commercial vehicle industry in 2018. He was named editor of Bulk Transporter and Refrigerated Transporter magazines in July 2020.