Kroger and Albertsons to merge, create private fleet grocery behemoth

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Trucking news and briefs for Monday, Oct. 17, 2022:

Kroger to acquire Albertsons

Kroger and Albertsons on Friday announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which the companies will merge. Once the deal is complete, which calls for Kroger to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Albertsons for $24.6 billion, the combined companies will be the largest private fleet in the grocery segment with nearly 2,400 tractors. Walmart, the largest retail carrier in the U.S., has just more than 10,000 tractors. 

Together, Albertsons and Kroger currently employ more than 710,000 associates and operate a total of 4,996 stores, 66 distribution centers, 52 manufacturing plants, 3,972 pharmacies and 2,015 fuel centers. Together, Kroger and Albertsons Cos. will have an expanded network of stores and distribution centers, as well as a broader supplier base that is expected to optimize its supply chain.

Unannounced hazmat inspection blitz found more than 1,700 violations

A recent unannounced five-day inspection blitz in the U.S. and Canada found 1,774 violations of regulations regarding hazardous materials/dangerous goods.

On June 13-17, commercial motor vehicle inspectors checked 6,204 vehicles transporting hazardous materials/dangerous goods and 6,668 HM/DG packages in Canada and the U.S. for an initiative for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

Vehicles found to have HM/DG-related out-of-service violations, and/or any other driver or vehicle out-of-service violations, were restricted from traveling until all out-of-service violations were addressed.

According to CVSA, during the 2022 HM/DG Road Blitz, inspectors discovered the following violations:

  • 408 shipping papers violations
  • 269 non-bulk/small means of containment packaging violations
  • 272 bulk packaging/large means of containment placarding violations
  • 76 non-bulk/small means of containment labeling violations
  • 159 bulk packaging/large means of containment placarding violations
  • 79 other safety marks violations
  • 168 loading and securement violations
  • 43 HM/DG package integrity (leaking) violations
  • 84 transportation of Dangerous Goods Training Certificate violations (Canada only)

According to FMCSA’s data for the last calendar year (as of Aug. 26, 2022), the top five hazmat violations in the U.S. were:

  1. Package not secure in vehicle
  2. No copy of USDOT HM registration number
  3. No or improper shipping papers (carrier)
  4. Shipping paper accessibility
  5. Vehicle not placarded as required

J.B. Hunt awards $250k in scholarships to employee dependents

J.B. Hunt Transport Services (CCJ Top 250, No. 3) announced it has awarded a total of $250,000 in scholarships to 100 recipients as part of the company’s new scholarship program, the J.B. Hunt Scholarship Program for Families.

“Leading this program is one of the many ways J.B. Hunt is working to give back to our communities,” said Brad Hicks, president of highway services and executive vice president of people at J.B. Hunt. “The innovative ideas that will transform the world are with the students of today and we want to ensure they have the opportunity to learn, grow and reach their full potential.”

The application-based scholarship program is available to dependent children or grandchildren of J.B. Hunt employees who currently attend or plan to attend an accredited two- or four-year college, trade school or vocational school. Awards are renewable each year for up to four years, as long as the recipient maintains a 2.5 GPA and full-time enrollment.

The J.B. Hunt Scholarship Program for Families inaugural class represents more than 60 locations throughout the country.

The program is supported by Scholarship America, an organization that works to enrich education by assisting individuals, corporations and communities with fundraising and awarding scholarships to students.

J.B. Hunt has plans to continue the program in 2023.

Thermo King completes test of electric trailer

Thermo King announced it has completed initial testing of its innovative evolve electric trailer with retailers Walmart and Loblaws, and foodservice fleet Martin Brower.

During more than 2,500 hours of operation, the battery-powered refrigerated trailer unit delivered excellent performance, Thermo King said, ensuring high quality climate control to keep food and other goods fresh. With zero direct emissions, Thermo King’s electric trailer technology can help to significantly decarbonize the cold chain. 

“By partnering with our customers, we can help accelerate the industry’s transformation to electrification by applying valuable insights from data collected during these trials,” said Karin De Bondt, president of Thermo King Americas. “With more than 2,500 hours of operation, the learnings bring us closer to a commercialized all-electric trailer unit, help our customers prepare their operations, and ultimately, together we can advance the industry forward.”

Leveraging Thermo King TracKing telematics, customer operations data and learnings have been documented with each evolve trailer demonstration, directly contributing to future product optimization and innovation, the company said. In addition to its current portfolio of products, Thermo King has committed to delivering all-electric, zero-emission solutions for every segment of the end-to-end cold chain by 2023 in Europe and 2025 in the Americas.