on Aug 27th, 2012 in Mail Processing & Transportation | 18 comments
 
The U.S. Postal Service owns more than 213,000 vehicles, the largest civilian fleet in the world. Many of these vehicles are reaching the end of their operational lives, prompting the Postal Service to wrestle with how best to address its long-term vehicle needs. A recent Government Accountability Office report noted that the organization’s current financial situation poses a significant barrier to vehicle replacement or refurbishment. Attention has primarily been given to the Postal Service’s delivery fleet of left-hand drive trucks and minivans, which make up almost 85 percent of its entire fleet. However, the Postal Service also operates a large fleet of tractor trailers to haul mail from one processing facility to another or to stations and branches. Many of these trucks have exceeded their usage expectancy. The Postal Service has about 1,800 tractors and almost 3,900 trailers. The trailers come in various sizes to accommodate different-sized docks and to navigate various locations. Some locations, such as New York City, cannot accommodate the larger 53-foot trailers. It would cost roughly $135,000 to replace each tractor and another $45,000 to replace a standard-sized trailer. Trailer specifications are unique to the Postal Service, making “off the shelf” purchases impossible. In addition, the Postal Service needs to refurbish the tractors to meet the emissions standards in each state. These standards and the deadlines for achieving them vary by state. The cost to retrofit the existing fleet would vary depending on the standards needing to be met. With its current cash crunch, the Postal Service lacks the capital to invest immediately in upgrading its fleet. Yet an overhaul of the fleet of some kind is needed. Are there alternatives to replacing the fleet of tractor trailers? Could the Postal Service hire contractors to perform the work now done by its own fleet? Contracting out is the most common way the Postal Service acquires transportation. The Postal Service already contracts with 15,000 highway contract route (HCR) suppliers to cover more than 1.2 billion miles of mostly long-haul mail transportation. Or is contracting out not feasible given the Postal Service’s unique and varied needs for its tractor trailer fleet? Should the Postal Service lease new trailers and have Postal Service Vehicle drivers perform the work? Or, could the Postal Service consider new financing arrangements, such as taking a bank loan like a private transport company does, which would allow it to purchase trailers over time? Or does replacing the fleet all at once through a competitive bidding process provide the Postal Service with the strongest purchasing power? If so, how should the Postal Service pay for this replacement?

18 Comments

Are you people stoned?

A day cab tractor is $ 105,000 dollars. Your not private you an entity of Congress. Subtract the Fed excise tax and that is $ 89,400. Then take off the fleet discount and that is $ 76,000. Or 48 weeks of pay for the truck driver who drives it.

If you then sell the truck in six year for $ 30,000, the truck cost $ 46,000. You then divide that buy five years of service and you end up with $ 9,200 a year or one month pay for the two drivers who share it.

Trailers are $ 14 a day. with warranties and up keep. You could buy new for $ 22,000.

USE REAL WORLD NUMBERS. UPS doesn't use contractors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wake up man... Do you remember a line from Platoon....
You can thank the current administration.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCCyvAwbbso&feature=related

I am reality........

http://www.epa.gov/otaq/

They should be replacing with vehicles that can use natural gas, just the savings in fuel costs would pay for the fleet in 10 years time

Lease the trailers they are cheap to lease, buy new tractors the first comment on this blog is right(on the math); when the contractors brake down PVS is always called to help them if everything is contracted out who are you going to call? contractors are going to charge extra for runs, postal drivers get paid by the hour. I tought the Postal Service was excempt from this retrofitting? is the state going to make Airforce,Army and Marines to retrofit their diesel trucks???? I srongly believe the retrofitting its like $15000 on each truck to fix but I have never seen the Government pay full price for anything if its in bulk this case being so many tractors and 11 tons involved. Plus there is good seminew trailers that are cheap in good condition. Ive seen some of the reports that indicate is too expensive to retrofit but to my personal opinion they are not real numbers. I have also seen alot of new contractors trucks carrying 2 to 3 APCS and I know thats a waste of money.

Another idiot heard from...

The United States Postal Service is a federal entity. The tractors, trailers, straight trucks, vans etc. have no tags or registration as they are exempt from these regulations. They pay no road tax fees or (on road) fuel tax. The drivers are exempt from all DOT regulations with the exception of the self imposed CDL licence and random drug tests. The idea that these trucks need to meet certain emissions testing is a fallacy designed to eliminate the entire PVS system and contract it out. The United States Postal Service fleet is exempt from emissions testing.

If you question this, explain why the United States Army's fleet of trucks (that uses the same roads as the United States Postal Service fleet) is not required to comply with the emission standards? Do you think the Army is going to replace it's fleet or contract out it's fleet because of this regulation?

Unfortunately that is not accurate. The California Air Resources Board must seek approval for its regulations from the EPA, Once the EPA approves, as with this regulation, it carries the force of federal law. This regulation explicitly DOES apply to civilian federally owned vehicles. The legislation that created this arrangement contains an "Exemption From Diesel Fuel Requirements for Military-Specification Fuels Used in Qualifying Military Vehicles."

Some truth here but not all. The cdl drivers are required to pass a physical they are not exempt to all rules! Second the bulk of the fleet are required to be emission tested LLV, FFV, Windstar, Uplanders, and administrative vehicles Focus Malibu, Caravans, etc. Mack tractors long nose or flat and international and sterling 7 and 11 tons have emission standards as well they are not race trucks. They have catalytic Converters e.g.r. Systems as well as other emission device controls set from the factor for civilian use. After all I have been a diesel technician for the USPS for over 5 years and proud to serve.

Mark is right, your cost estimates are way too high. Instead of leasing replacements or buying "all necessary replacements at one time" why not budget a fund for purchasing, say, 20% of the tractor fleet a year over the next 5 years? With the right specs, we could still maintain parts commonality over most of the new fleet. Modify the 4587 process to earmark the tractors with highest maintenance costs for earliest disposal. And for God's sake, get some vehicle maintenance and operations people involved in spec'ing the new trucks, not the ivory tower HQ people who have made such a mess of nearly every major vehicle procurement over the last few decades.

Alright, let's try this again a different way...... Sometimes I'm vague.
I thought the You Tube clips on the previous post added a certain moxy to the EPA/Climate Change Tractor Trailer information provided.
Someway, somehow, in the very-very-very near future, this U.S. Post Office is going to have to develop, employ, and execute a carbon friendly transportation footprint. This is not simply some fubar comment poking the hornets nest of the Transportation Segment of the organization. This comes from the Executive Office, and if this United Nations initiative by western nations is expected to develop into a global policy, America's Post Office must be prepared to participate.
Therefore, imagine the Carbon Credits which could be earned by farming out the Diesel Fleet to a contractor. It's actually a dual credit because these carbon friendly (to a degree) can serve as a direct carbon credit, by selling the fleet, and serve as a derivative carbon credit, because the recipient contractor earns credits for retrofitting the trucks; which can be part of the deal as retrofitting can be done by postal employees at PVS (Postal Vehicle Service).

I'd rater see us play the govt exempt card. Screw coron credits and all that crap. Only foolhardy people buy into that game- and it is a game. We both know that. Spend the money to retrofit a truck that really dosent need to be modified and then sellthem off? Must be some really good stuff you got in that pipe...

Kindly note OIG Audit HR-AR-12-004, dated 09/2012

Two words Natural Gas
If drivin 100,000 mi per
year saves $40,000.00
over 5 years .And it's green
people love green and not
brown:)

Cut off Postal Headquarters Bonuses from the PMG and his other crooks for three yearsand the Service would be able to replace tractors, trailers, and delivery fleet of enormus amounts.

I have no idea where these cost figures come in.I am a third generation driver and former owner operator.40 to 45 thousand per trailer is about right.But 135 for a tractor is bull,You can go buy a day cab for 80 to 85 and with a fleet discount they would be at least 10 percent cheaper.This is why we are in trouble no one in the post office knows trucks that are making these deals.I have been driving for them for 7 years and management has no clue about trucks.I have been driving for 37 years and it is just lack of knowledge on the PO.And yes we are exempt from fed laws so why did they close the MVS in parts of California.

Run it like all other business charge enough to cover your cost.Business 101

I think when people get hired by the post they see a buy free card and I red light to milk

This is a really easy solution for the Trucks and Trailers.

Trailer specifications should be lowered to standard E Track equiped semi trailer with 12 inch on center E-track posts and have the best possible roll up doors made. LED Lights all around and Stainlesss Steel rear opening and bumper.

As for tractors. a Manufacturer should be able to lease the postal service enough tractors to the specification they desire. The only thing I would make sure that is done is that these tractors are not so far outside the Standard tractor order of the private fleets. AKA Dont strip them down to bare shells or put to many extra / redundant systems that are not called for.

I have been around the post office working as a HCR contractor for over 6 years and yes the post office have nice equipment but they dont rotate out their fleet like a private corporation to take advantage of IRS tax laws. Tractors should be driven for 3-5 years and then rotated out. Trailers can operate without major issues in the 8-10 year range.

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