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Amber Alert

Monday, January 21, 2008

Chinese trucking execs visit Con-way trucking terminal on fact-finding mission

Delegates from the China Road Transportation Association were excited by the number of trucks they saw on Interstate 81 during their visit to the Con-way trucking company in Greencastle last week. The six delegates were on a fact-finding mission. They were from different Chinese provinces and wanted to get ideas for ways to improve the Chinese trucking industry.

“The Chinese trucking industry is still in its infancy,” said Warren Hoemann, senior vice president of the American Trucking Association. “Their trucking industry is moving very fast, though.”

The delegates were taking a two-week journey across the United States to find out how America’s trucking industry works. They visited San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York to view various trucking operations.

“First we have to learn from the outside world,” said Mi Wenju, the deputy manager of Beijing Xianglong Assets Management Co. Ltd. “We see what works in those areas, then take those ideas back to China and see what works best for us.” Along the way, they noticed the thousands of miles of roads the United States has.

“The Chinese are working on their road systems so they can support the tractor trailers,” said Con-Way Chief Operating Officer Dave Miller. “In the past five to six years they have built the amount of roadways that have taken us 60 years. We can’t even patch our own roadways in five years.”

The reason for the massive building of roadways is Chinese reliance on intermodal transportation. China, which owns the largest shipping ports in the world, can use intermodal systems to move much of their production inland to the more rural provinces by using boats, trains and trucks.

“We are spending over $100 billion on transportation infrastructure,” said Mingde Yao, chairman of the China Road Transport Association.

This will allow China to become one of the leaders in the shipping industry in the next few years. But the intermodal system cannot grow without miles and miles of roads and the trucks to travel on them, which was a major reason why the delegates came to Con-way.

“They use farm trucks, old Soviet-built trucks and box trucks,” Hoemann said. “They don’t have double trailers either.”

At the sight of the double trailers, the Chinese delegates were very excited, taking pictures and walking around a truck like it was an alien spaceship. Mi Wenju and a few of the other delegates took a ride in the truck.

“The reason they don’t have these double trailers is because all of their roads aren’t yet up to standards,” Miller said. “But the roads they are building are being built with international standards in mind.”

In addition, each trailer in China is “married” to the tractor, so trailers are not interchangeable. This is because of the way the vehicles are registered with the Chinese provincial governments, Miller explained.Source