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Carriers Report Growth and Optimism

A. Duie Pyle has invested in 50 new over-the-road tractors with sleepers and plans to hire a corresponding number of full-time drivers by the end of 2006 to expand its truckload service. The company presently has a dedicated pool of over 150 owner/operator truckload drivers. “The need for truckload services is growing, but fewer independent drivers are willing th shoulder the costs of purchasing and maintaining their own tractors,” said Steve O’Kane, A. Duie Pyle president.

Schneider National announced Mark Rourke has been named president of truckload and Bill Matheson was named president of intermodal following the resignation of Scott Arves who was president of transportation.

UPS has received a three-year contract from the U.S. Postal Service to provide domestic air transportation of primarily First Class and Priority Mail. Initially, UPS will provide lift to an from 98 cities.

Supporters of a $2.5 billion railroad renewal project for the Dakota Minnesota and Eastern Railroad (DM&E) have formed a coalition, the Growth Opportunities Through Rail Access Coalition (GOTRAC) to “educate the public on its benefits.” In addition to creating thousands of jobs, the group says the project will “corred critical capacity shortages in the national rail system.” The expansion would improve market access and competition for all customers, says GOTRAC, principally in the Powder River Basin. If the project goes forward, it would create the first Class 1 railroad in more than 100 years.

Arkansas Best Corp. became a “pure play” in the less-than-truckload (LTL) segment following the sale of its intermodal unit Clipper Exxpress for $21 million. A continuing concern, says Stifel Nicolaus analyst John Larkin, remains the Teamster contract negotiations due prior to the expiration of the current contract on March 31, 2008. With fewer carriers involved, says Larkin, ABF may chose to negotiate on its own.

Strong tonnage numbers, an improved LTL rate environment and a favorable economic outlook led Old Dominion Freight Lines to issue second-quarter earnings guidance that indicates earnings-per-share could for from a $0.43-$0.46 range to $0.50-$0.52 range.

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