April 26, 2010 8:30 AM, EDT

Tank Truck Carriers to Focus on the Economy, Government Regulations at Annual Meeting

By Sean McNally, Senior Reporter

This story appears in the April 26 print edition of Transport Topics.

The economic recovery and understanding how of government regulations will affect business will be key themes of the National Tank Truck Carriers’ annual conference, scheduled for May 10-12 in Chicago. 

“I think there’s a bit of an economic theme to it,” said NTTC President John Conley, adding that the mood of his members is “upbeat” compared with prior years.

Conley said carriers who haul asphalt, concrete and chemicals are beginning to see a recovery.

“It sure will be nice when these shovel-ready [construction] projects are really ready,” he said. At the same time, he noted that chemical haulers have already seen an upswing.

In fact, some companies already are looking at hiring drivers and eventually will need to add equipment, he said.

At the conference, David Thomas of Bank of America Merrill Lynch will help fleet executives unlock how banks look at tank carriers when deciding whether to extend them credit, Conley said.

Attendees also will hear an economic update from Bob Costello, chief economist for American Trucking Associations.

Conley said NTTC will use part of its meeting to discuss the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new safety monitoring system — Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010.

“The tank truck industry, the hazmat industry is held to a higher standard . . . and the [CSA 2010] levels are different for the hazmat industry, as they probably should be and that’s why we’re having three speakers come in,” Conley said. “The idea is: We’ve had speakers come into the safety meetings, but this is really a message to the CEO about why this is important to you.”

Conley said following the session featuring Tom Bray, editor of Transport Management for J.J. Keller and Associates Inc.; Jim Angel, product manager, PeopleNet; and Greg Feary, an attorney with Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary P.C., executives may have a better idea of just how much time and resources they may have to devote to CSA 2010.

“You may have to hire someone who does nothing but watch your CSA 2010,” he said of FMCSA’s now delayed program.

The scheduled keynote speaker is Sam Skinner, a former secretary of Transportation and White House chief of staff during the George H.W. Bush administration. During his career, Skinner also was chief executive officer of US Freightways.