INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana—Another week of tank truck appreciation is in the books.
National Tank Truck Carriers welcomed 900 stakeholders to Tank Truck Week 2023 at the Indiana Convention Center, where members convened Oct. 8-11 to solve industry problems, advance common interests, celebrate safety professionals, and inspect 57,400 sq. ft. of exhibition space filled with the latest equipment and technology.
“NTTC leadership and staff have been actively pursuing your interests,” Ryan Streblow, NTTC president and CEO, said in his report to the association’s board of directors. “As much as I can say they’ve lost their way in D.C., we certainly have not.”
While Republicans in the House of Representatives struggled to elect a House speaker—they finally picked Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana on Oct. 25, more than three weeks after ousting Kevin McCarthy in an historic vote—NTTC had no trouble elevating new leaders and advancing critical agenda items, like the milestone launch of the “See yourself in a tank truck” branding campaign and gotanktruck.com micro-site.
The event also featured updates from the American Transportation Research Institute’s Rebecca Brewster and American Truck Dealers’ Laura Perrotta; an inspirational keynote by Rudy Ruettiger, whose story inspired the film Rudy; 13 committee meetings; 12 educational sessions, including a Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association update; and three product showcases, with one highlighting Hendrickson’s new outboard-mounted rotors, which promise improved serviceability and safety for tank trailers.
Tank Truck Week 2024 is slated for Sept. 28-Oct. 2, 2024, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
With Michael Salz, Linden Bulk Transportation president, stepping down as first vice-chair, the association elected J. Ward Best, Atlantic Bulk Carrier vice president, as new first vice-chair, placing him in line to succeed Herb Evans, Eagle Transport Corporation vice chairman, as NTTC’s next chairman of the board. Additionally, Jeremy Mairs, Cox Petroleum president and CEO, moved into Best’s vacated vice-chair role, and Marshall Franklin, Highway Transport president and CFO, filled Mairs’ position as secretary.
See also: NTTC launches industry branding campaign
In other moves, Doug Vineyard, Highway Transport managing director of equipment services, was elected chair of NTTC’s Tank Cleaning and Maintenance Council; and Lance Hagler, Trimac Transportation North American director of safety and security, was elevated to national chair of the Safety and Security Council, replacing outgoing chair Jim Anderson, Florida Rock & Tank Lines vice president of safety and risk management. “Jim, thank you for your professionalism and leadership,” Hagler said. “You’ve done an awesome job.
“I’m not sure I can duplicate that, but I’m sure going to try.”
NTTC leaders also reported adding 43 members in fiscal year 2022, which ended in March, and 32 members in the first six months of fiscal year 2023, returning total membership back to pre-pandemic numbers. New 2023 members include 13 for-hire carrier and private fleets—like Black Marlin Transport, Continental Tank Lines, Hagen Johnson Trucking, Kindred Transport, and Switzer Tank Lines—with a total of 589 power units.
“Our membership target for 23 is aggressive,” Streblow said. “We’re looking for 8% growth in our revenue. That was established by our budget and finance committee, and we’ve already added over $64,000 in new dues revenue in the first six months, and with our enhanced value proposition, we can continue that trend.”
Behind the curtain
NTTC “pulled back the curtain” on scoring the 2022 North American Safety Contest and examined Canadian carriers’ odds of winning after Tandet Logistics and Harmac Transportation swept the for-hire awards this year.
The contest is divided into two rounds. In Round 1, companies are judged on their DOT recordable accident frequency per million miles. Great West Casualty auditors compare self-reported numbers to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration safety management system (SMS) and Central Analysis Bureau (CAB) data—and similar crash register data for Canadian carriers—to verify non-preventable accidents; and, starting this year, electronic logging devices (ELDs) to verify miles, instead of International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) miles.
Vehicle identification numbers (VINs) help auditors identify the tank trailers in mixed fleets.
NTTC then recognizes the first-, second-, and third-place winners (Grand, Merit, and Honor) in each mileage category, and Grand award winners move on to compete for one of three Heil trophies in Round 2, where they’re rated in nine categories: Driver qualification, driver training, driver management, worker safety program, incident response, safety and training, vehicle and tank inspection, vehicle and tank maintenance, and industry engagement.
The 29 carriers who competed in the Harvison division (the five mileage categories greater than 15 million miles) averaged a .392 accident frequency in 2022, the 33 carriers in the Sutherland division (the five mileage categories fewer than 15 million miles) averaged a .653, and the eight private-fleet contestants averaged a .359.
Judges use a weighted rubric to score anonymized competitors in Round 2, where each of four judges can award up to 333 points, for a maximum score of 1,332. Tandet won the Harvison trophy with 1,089 points, Harmac won the Sutherland title with 1,069 points, and Gemini Motor Transport claimed the first private-fleet crown with 989 points.
Additionally, the association found that, over the last three years, 54.5% of the Canadian carriers in Round 1 advanced to Round 2—but only 3.7% of the Canadian carriers in Round 2 went on to secure a Heil trophy.
NTTC revealed the 2022 Safety Professionals of the Year and honored the 2022 Competitive and Personnel Safey Contest Grand award winners during the Safety and Security Council Recognition Dinner at the Indiana Rooftop Ballroom.
Brent Bergevin, Love’s EVP of transportation, won Safety Professional of the Year in the private-fleet division; Brad Beaton, Seaboard Transport safety director, emerged in the Sutherland division; and Dave Herdman, Tandet safety manager, prevailed in the Harvison division for his second top safety professional award.
The Safety Professional awards are based on safety and preventative maintenance programs, personnel safety program and record, contributions to the general causes of the tank truck industry, and contribution to the cause of general highway safety.
“We try very hard to do the things we need to do to make this happen, but that’s not our goal,” Herdman said. “Our goal is to go home safe at the end of the day, and because we go home safe at the end of the day, we get to win some awards, which is great.”
Supporting the cause
NTTC and 2022-23 Tank Truck Driver of the Year Kenneth Tolliver, of G&D Trucking/Hoffman Transportation, presented the Boys and Girls Club of Hopkinsville-Christian County (Kentucky) with a check for $2,500. “We’re doing amazing things there—and this $2,500 check will be used to help families in need,” Tolliver said.
The Hopkinsville Boys and Girls Club serves 100 kids a day with programs and activities that focus on academic success, healthy lifestyles, and character development. “The Boys and Girls Club in Hopkinsville outperforms every other Boys and Girls Club on average across the entire United States when it comes to our kids having what the Boys and Girls Club of America calls the ‘optimal club experience,’” Davis said.
“[But] nothing we do can happen without the support of people like Mr. and Mrs. Tolliver.”
BeyondTrucks helped raise $2,170 for the Next Generation in Trucking Foundation and Lindsey Trent, Next Gen Trucking president and co-founder, with a silent auction held during a private dinner at the OP Italian restaurant.