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Recent Technological Developments in the Trucking Industry

By Valentina Moors Subscribe to RSS | March 19th 2012 | Views:

Even water and aircraft transportation is not as widely used as commercial trucks. The image of enormous trucks rushing along wide expressways is not limited to the movie screens—though commercial trucks tend to travel in different routes from public roads where private vehicles travel. Commercial trucks normally transport goods from warehouses to the industries they supply. Commercial trucks also transport products to retailers.

Commercial trucks are usually box trucks. However, flatbed trucks, semi-trucks, and dump trucks populate the industry, too. Box trucks often carry more delicate products like food products, chemical products, and the mechanical components of technological products like telephones, computers, and the like. Semi-trucks and dump trucks often carry raw materials like rocks and lumber.

In the 1990s, the commercial trucking industry attracted significant scrutiny because of harmful exhaust emissions. Apparently, these trucks were fueled by diesel, which emits carcinogenic properties. Diesel emissions were also found to contribute to the greenhouse effect and global warming. Moreover, petroleum refineries produced ultra-low sulfur diesel. This produces sulfur dioxide, which contributes to acid rain.

In response to these findings, the trucking industry has continued to work towards improvement. This has led to the production of hybrid electric engines for commercial trucks. Hybrid electric engines are combined engines of entirely different types—internal combustion and electric, specifically. The vehicle is run by the electric engine until the battery runs out of power; only then does the conventional engine take over, bringing truck loads across many states and arriving on time. Nowadays, the internal combustion engine is fueled with biodiesel, a biofuel made from vegetable oils or leftover grease from restaurants.

The technological advancement of trucks has gone farther than that. Today, commercial trucks are also equipped with advanced telecommunication devices that guide truck drivers to their destinations. Trucks now have satellite radios that communicate commands from the dispatcher. These are also equipped with global positioning systems to prevent road accidents and lost trucks. These innovations ensure that truck loads are delivered on time.

Such changes facilitate production processes and improve the quality of service. These have been accomplished in part by the implementation of trucking reforms and the development of intermodal services. In intermodal transportation, the goods inside the truck freight are transported to another mode, like a railway system or a cargo ship. This is to deliver goods to places farther than a truck driver could travel within the required period of time.

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