Talkin' Trucks With Mike:A History of the TNT Companies

Discussion in 'LTL and Local Delivery Trucking Forum' started by Mike2633, Jun 9, 2018.

  1. Mike2633

    Mike2633 Road Train Member

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    Expedited Freight Vehicle Classification Chart

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    Thanks to Rob Archer on Hanks Truck Pictures for this photo and information.

    In the world of Expedite Trucks the unit we see above is called a "D" unit so from now on anytime you see a sleeper cab straight truck it is called a "D" unit. Which are very common in the Expedite world.

    This is called a "B" unit a cargo van expedite unit is known as a "B" unit.
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    In the world of Expedite trucks the loads are usually smaller or lighter or half loads and they utilize "D" and "B" units to haul a red hot skid of widgets or maybe 5 skids of widgets were left on the dock at such and such place and so they call a "D" unit in to pick up the 5 skids. Or a machine breaks down and they need red hot pick up and delivery of machine parts.
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    In Expedited Terms a Tractor Trailer unit is called an "E" unit. So in Expediter lingo if you drive a tractor trailer for an Expedited Truck Company you say I'm an "E" unit operator.

    So that's an introductory course to Expedite Vehicle Classification.
     
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  3. Mike2633

    Mike2633 Road Train Member

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    TNT Expedited Companies

    TNT Taxi Truck
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    This photograph was taken in Montreal in the summer of 1996. This is a taxi for freight, one stop door to door non-stop expedited freight movement just like a taxi takes a person from door to door a taxi truck taxis freight from door to door. Taxi Truck hauled emergency freight that was not tied to the automotive manufacturing industry.

    TNT Tro Air

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    TNT Tro Air was the division of TNT that ran expedited Air Cargo for Air Canada. This picture was taken in 2001 in Canada.

    TNT Olex
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    TNT Olex was the emergency freight division for TNT they were TNT's core expedited company.

    TNT Expedited Services
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    In 1993 TNT merged Olex and Taxi Truck under the TNT Expedited Services umbrella. Here we see a "D" unit taking a break in the year 2000.

    TNT Just In Time
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    In 1984, Just In Time was started up to service the automotive plants between The Midwest, US and Ontario Canada.

    Just In Time, serviced the Japaneses thought theory of zero inventory just in time deliveries of parts. Just In Time ran time sensitive "emergency" truck load auto parts freight to automobile assembly plants. Just In Time was headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan.
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    Just In Time's main yard in Dearborn, Michigan in 1994.
     
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  4. Mike2633

    Mike2633 Road Train Member

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    TNT TRUCK LOAD SERVICES

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    TNT in Canada was a small player when it came to truck load service, but they did have a division TNT Roadfast, which hauled, air freight and fast haul long haul freight and other truck load stuff for other TNT sister companies.

    TNT Tro Air pulling a set of Roadfast B-Trains
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    Roadfast while they were a truck load carrier they did utilize B-Trains for delivery routes in Montreal. Mr. Buron called them "Traction" but I would have to believe that meant delivery.
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    TNT Tro Air hauling truck load air freight.
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    TNT Uni Line
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    TNT Uniline was the only TNT truck load carrier to not adopt the TNT white and orange paint scheme.

    TNT Wesbell Transport
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    TNT Wesbell Transport was the TNT company that ran equipment and products for the telecommunications industry which was a truck load carrier.
     
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  5. Mike2633

    Mike2633 Road Train Member

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    TNT Canadian LTL Operations

    TNT Champlain Sept Lines - TNT Overland Express

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    When we think about TNT in Canada what often comes to mind is all there special companies that served the automotive industry and emergency freight and air freight and specialty industries.

    But amidst all that TNT did do some good old fashioned LTL work in Canada.

    TNT bought out Champlain Sept Lines and merged those into TNT Overland Express which was TNT Canada's LTL company. In 1997 KNP Group which bought out TNT decided to get out of the general freight and emergency freight business in Canada thus selling off TNT Overland Express and Roadfast and other general hauling TNT operations.

    This started the TST Companies which are owned by Transforce. Transforce is the largest Canadaian transportation provider and Transforce TST Overland Express is the old TNT Overland Express.
     
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  6. Shep Shiloh

    Shep Shiloh Medium Load Member

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    That F-350 Olex sleeper truck is very interesting.
     
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  7. Mike2633

    Mike2633 Road Train Member

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    I saw that one and I wish he would have gotten a picture of that unit. Because you're right that is a very interesting unit. Olex there owner operators ran some pretty interesting stuff. To bad that unit now is probably lost to history. I imagine it was eventually sold off to another operator then run for some time and then it's economic life span was up and then sent to a junk yard and chopped up and scrapped out.
     
  8. speedyk

    speedyk Road Train Member

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    Wonder if there are similar Expedited companies near the US plants of foreign makes like Mercedes and BMW and VW that aren't in the Great Lakes region. Or do they have it together and never need expedited services? Do Honda in Marysville and Subaru need that level sometimes?

    Thanks for all the research Mike, this TNT one was probably pretty tough to do. In my travels it's pretty rare to come across anyone who knows the history of the industry they work.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
  9. Mike2633

    Mike2633 Road Train Member

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    Boy gee that's a real good question. I don't know the answer to that. I would imagine that yes they all need some kind of expedited service somewhere. If nothing else because a machine could break down and the new part needs to be picked up and rushed in to keep the assembly line moving. I mean anything could happen of course. I met a guy at truck school who was a "B" unit operator for Express 1.

    I asked him what that was like. He said to me "Poverty on wheels man."

    I said "Oh" he said to me one of his loads was a box about the size of a box you would put a basketball in and it was an O ring and it was going from a nuclear power plant in Ohio to a nuclear power plant in Texas and he put it on the passenger seat of his van and called it "Wilson" he said he drove for like 3 days straight before he made it to the power plant then once he was there he asked what the company had to get him back and they said "Uhhh you might have to dead head to another area." So he drove from Texas to Tennessee stayed with his daughter for a week and radioed to dispatch and said "Hey I've been here in Tennessee at my daughters for a week and the grandkids are driving me nuts, come on you gotta have something." Dispatch said "Oh we don't have anything, but move over to such and such a place."

    He said "Okay look if you don't find something then you and I aren't friends any more." Eventually they came up with something.

    I've often wondered why the American auto plants always needed such heavy expedite service. I mean considering you know okay today were going to make 100 cars so that means we need 100 transmissions so everyday the 2-3 trucks come in with the transmissions for the day.

    Well actually that's not totally correct a friend of mine used to work at Ford's Brookpark, Ohio engine casting and manufacturing facility the foundry that's now shut down and was torn down about 10 years ago and he said the engines they made there were loaded into railcars Ford's eninge plant is right down the line from what was Conrail's Rockport Yard which is now Norfolk Southern's Cleveland yard and there rail dock was big enough to load 4 box cars at a time and the tow motor guys could load a rail road box car full of motors in 12 minutes. The raildroad in the 1990s Conrail would haul box cars from the Cleveland plant to Fords assembly plant in Kansas City, Mo.

    However I see expedite trucks at Fords, Avon Assembly Plant. That's the plant where they make the Ford E-Serries van well or used to now it's the Transit and bigger Ford 650 series truck.
     
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  10. speedyk

    speedyk Road Train Member

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    I ran an expedited train once. Just a few cars of parts for a GM plant. Needed to run some miles over another railroad, the junction I might normally have to sit for an hour or two had a signal waiting for me.

    Plant was on another railroad, we usually handed them off, right on through. Gate at the plant was normally a delay, but not today, bring those right on in.

    Once we got out of the originating yard, and they hurried that process by having everything perfectly ready when we got there, that train never stopped until it got to where it was unloaded. No sandwich time for the engineer that day, but we were on mileage and headed back to our home terminal.

    Got there in time for them to run that shift, but I bet they lost money on it, those railroads didn't do anything for free. Someone could work their whole life on the railroad and never see that kind of expediency and co-operation come together.

    If that kind of thing could have happened every day, TNT and other expediters would have found a lot less low-hanging freight to move.
     
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  11. Mike2633

    Mike2633 Road Train Member

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    Expediting was a huge business for TNT between Olex, Bullet Van, Taxi Truck, Tro Air and Just In Time red hot freight was most of what TNT did.
     
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