Copyright 2006, Traffic World, Inc.

Rail ''Incentives''

I have a message for Glenn English (Traffic World, Feb. 20, "Demand Fuels Coal Rates"). One should watch what one asks for, because one just might get it. Electric utilities hesitate not to file for approval to recover capital investment in new plants well before the plants go into operation. Yet, according to Mr. English, railroads should not be granted incentives for making capital investments. Recovering capital costs even before the facility is in operation is perhaps one of the best "incentives" for capital investment ever invented by man. It certainly reduces risk on the part of those making the investment, but at the same time, Mr. English''s utilities across the country are seeking rates that would give them a higher rate of return. Not bad: reduce risk and increase return simultaneously. John Kenneth Galbraith missed that part in his economic teachings.

Lawrence H. Kaufman

Golden, Colo.

Private Fleets

I am writing on behalf of the private truck fleet industry to express protest and outrage at Schneider National''s advertisement in Traffic World on April 17.

This advertisement depicts a false and dishonest picture of private fleets and conveys an underlying contempt for private fleet management overall. The ad leads with the claim, "with private fleets, it''s what you don''t see that can bite you" and concludes with "call Schneider Dedicated when you''re ready to get off the thin ice of private fleets."

This characterization is both scandalous and factually incorrect. The vast majority of private fleets which are the targets of this advertising message consistently beat back challenges from some third-party providers promising worry-free alternatives to replace the private fleet. Experience for some shows such hollow promises can lead to greater cost and more service failures.

For the record, private fleets are the largest sector of the trucking market in America and have in many cases superior performance records compared with the for-hire trucking industry. Private fleets have better safety records, better customer service and on-time delivery ratings, far better driver turnover rates (often under 10 percent annually compared with ten times greater driver turnover in for-hire trucking), and often at equal or lower overall operating costs, with nearly one-third operating as profit centers. Many companies describe their private fleets as an important feature of shareholder value.

The weight of evidence supporting private fleets easily refutes the foolishly conceived fear mongering made in the Schneider advertisement.

Gary Petty

President and CEO, National Private Truck Council

Alexandria, Va.


Did I miss something or has Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta?

I did not see anything in his commentary (Traffic World, May 22, "A National Strategy to Reduce Congestion") regarding the congestion on our nation''s railroads.

Larry W. Henry

Vice President Logistics

Alliance Shippers