Melton Truck Lines orders 440 new trucks

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Melton Truck Lines recently ordered 440 new trucks and 150 new trailers in an attempt to get its fleet up to 900 trucks by the end of 2006. “With the purchases we made in 2005 plus our 2006 purchases, our fleet will be nearly brand-new by the time we begin 2007,” says Bob Peterson, Melton’s president.

The new trucks include Kenworth T600s with 13-speed transmissions and Caterpillar engines, Freightliner mid-roofs with either Cat or Detroit Diesel engines, and Peterbilt 386s with 13-speed transmissions and Caterpillar engines. Melton also ordered 150 Utility air-ride flatbeds, bringing its total trailer count to more than 1,600. The 440 new trucks have a collective value of $44 million, says Valerie Ellis, a Melton marketing coordinator.

The new trucks include anti-theft devices, leather seats, XM Satellite Radio and 2007-compliant engines, and both company drivers and owner-operators with lease-purchase plans will use the new trucks, Ellis says. “We used to lease out older trucks, but now we can lease brand-new trucks,” he says. “We try to do whatever we can to keep the drivers happy, because that’s what keeps them with us.”

“We have opened a terminal in Birmingham, Alabama, and in the next few years we plan to build a 500-square-foot recruiting office that is separate from the office building,” Ellis says. “We hope this increases recruiting in the Southeast, which is where a lot of our customers come from.” In business for more than 50 years, Melton also has offices and terminals in Tulsa, Okla., and three Texas locations: Dallas, Laredo and El Paso.