Heavy Duty Trucking

DEC 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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OnceAroundtheYard 42 HDT • DECEMBER 2014 www.truckinginfo.com "We can't backhaul with them" because the low f loor precludes forklift loading, Hawn says. "If we showed up at a shipper with one of them, they'd scream. The reason they work for us is that we use them to haul between our hubs." The ZCube design is not new, he observes. "I grew up in this business, and this is what we used 20 years ago," Hawn says. The need to backhaul general commodities swung opera- tors toward "straight-f loor" vans, so a return to the low-f loor van "is back to the future." ■ with long sleepers for long-haul team-driver operation. They are go- ing into service as they're delivered. With Detroit DD15 diesels and DT12 automated manual transmis- sions, the ones now operating get above 9 mpg, Hawn says. A ZCube resembles household goods vans that Kentucky special- izes in, but without their belly boxes and side doors. Its low f loor is interrupted by wheel wells and a rise for the nose that's supported by the tractor. Cargo is hand-loaded, like household goods, because that's what a lot of the items are. Low-floor, high-volume vans add capacity for home furnishings hauler. Z enith Global Logistics, which hauls and delivers home and hotel furnish- ings across much of the nation, needed more capacity. So its managers looked around and rediscovered low-f loor, high-cube van trailers that the f leet used 20 years ago. They ordered 14 units from Kentucky Trailer. The 53x102-inch vans have thin walls and their floors are nearly 2 feet lower than normal vans. That adds about 600 cubic feet of capacity to a van, says Jack Hawn, Zenith's president and CEO. He and his colleagues at the firm's headquarters in Conover, N.C., call the design "ZCube Max Capacity." "We're in the business of hauling big items fast," he says in explain- ing the operation, whose long-haul tractors are speed-limited to 68 mph to balance velocity and safety. The trailers carry furniture, lamps, rugs and other products among six hubs across the southern tier of states. Three more hubs are planned for the Northeast. Last fall, the company added 30 regular-f loor Utility 53x102-foot vans to its f leet to further support an increase in shipping volumes. The freight is big, bulky and light, with gross combination weights typically at 45,000 pounds, so the ZCube trailers are pulled by single-rear-axle tractors. The latest of those are Freightliner Cascadias ZCube trailers are 'Back to the Future' Tom Berg • Senior Editor The low floor includes wheel wells and a step- up at the trailer's nose, so ZCube trailers can't be forklift-loaded and don't backhaul. But they don't have to. Low-floor vans are like the household goods trailers that Kentucky specializes in, but with- out the belly boxes and side doors. Freightliner single-rear-axle tractors are driven by teams.

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