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mesilla valley transportation co-owners jimmy ray (left) and royal jones.For Mesilla Valley Transportation, notes co-owner Jimmy Ray, the equation is simple – operating more efficient equipment adds to the carrier’s competitiveness and helps foster its success. “Our quest is to apply technology that delivers a measurable economic advantage,” he says. “In a number of cases, testing has proven the fuel savings we’re realizing by choosing certain specifications.”

At the Las Cruces, NM-based truckload carrier, Ray relates further, all 831 International ProStar company tractors are purchased with full aerodynamic packages. Each vehicle is also equipped with wide base single drive tires and is retrofitted with an auxiliary power unit.

“Our testing has shown an economic advantage for every piece of the aerodynamic package,” Ray states. “Some parts of the package have a maintenance cost, but each piece still more than pays for itself in fuel savings. For the other items, we’ve found savings that are greater than the cost to install and maintain them.”

Mesilla Valley Transportation Trailer Specifications
  Models: Utility and Wabash
  Length: 53 ft.
  Axles: Hendrickson and Meritor, air slide, tandem
  Oil Seals: Stemco
  Brakes/ABS: Bendix
  Slack Adjusters: Haldex
  Wheels: Accuride steel disc
  Tires: Michelin 445/50 wide-base single


Fuel savings were also the reason that Mesilla Valley made the decision to outfit all of its 3,535 dry van trailers with ATDynamics TrailerTails and ATD-Transtex side skirts. The first 200 trailers were fitted with the devices in August 2010 and the remaining 3,300 units will be completed over the next 12 months.

“We expect to reduce fuel use by about 8.5% with these devices,” Ray says. “Once the entire fleet is equipped with the TrailerTails and side skirts, that savings will equal a significant amount of fuel annually.

Bottom line savings
At today’s fuel prices, according to Ray, Mesilla Valley Transportation anticipates a fast return on its multi-million dollar investment in rear- and side-drag reduction devices for its trailer fleet. “We expect a return on our investment in about 14 months,” he says.” After that, the savings go directly to our bottom line.”

Developed by ATDynamics, the TrailerTail alone has been shown to increase tractor-trailer fuel efficiency by 6.58% at 65 MPH in third party SAE J1321 testing. The technology operates by reducing low-pressure suction drag at the rear of a Class 8 tractor-trailer. In use, the TrailerTail extends four feet from the rear of the trailer, and when drivers need access to the rear doors collapses flush against the trailer doors in less than four seconds.

Mesilla Valley Transportation Tractor Specifications
  Model: International ProStar
  Wheelbase: 226 in.
  Engine: Cummins ISX
  Clutch: Eaton Fuller Solo
  Transmission: Eaton Fuller,ten-speed direct
  Driveshafts: Dana Spicer 250 XL
  Front Axle: Hendrickson SteerTek
  Front Suspension: monoleaf springs
  Power Steering: Sheppard
  Rear Axle: Meritor wide track
  Wheel Seals: Stemco
  Brakes: Meritor
  ABS: Bendix, with stability control
  Automatic Slack Adjusters: Haldex
  Parking Brakes: MGM, long stroke
  Rear Suspension: IROS air ride
  Wheels: Accuride steel disc
  Tires: Michelin 445/50 wide-base single
  5th Wheel: Fontaine
  Air Compressor: Cummins
  Air Dryer: Bendix
  Fan Clutch: Borg Warner
  Starter: Mitsubishi
  Alternator: Leece Neville
  Seats: National
  Fuel Tanks: 150- and 120-gal.

The ATDynamics Trailer Tail and Transtex side skirts are installed easily, Ray relates. “We have trained our own crews to install the components,” he says. The skirts and tails can be installed on a trailer by a four-person crew in one hour.”

Mesilla Valley Transportation maintains its own fleet of tractors and trailers at its terminal facilities in El Paso, TX, and Las Cruces, NM. Both locations have fully equipped shops, entry inspection and service lanes, parts inventory, repair areas for tractors and trailers, and are equipped with bridge cranes and tooling.

“We have a blend of experience in every area of tractor and trailer maintenance and repair,” Ray states. “Our crews find that they are always learning new things.

“We are also interested in developing our own staff and experience,” Ray continues. “In our operation, an apprentice starts in the service lane and can progress into technical repairs, trailer fabrication, parts, or even move into IT and management roles. We always try to place people in positions where they can perform at their best.”

Steady growth
Performing at it best, according to Ray, is what Mesilla Valley Transportation has demonstrated since its founding in 1981 as a hauler of refrigerated and perishable goods in the Southwestern U.S. Growth through the 1980s and early 1990s expanded the carrier’s service area to cover the 48 contiguous states and Canada.

In 1991, the company began providing service to customers with plants in both the U.S. and Mexico. These “Twin-Plant Industries” require time-sensitive, reliable transportation across the U.S.-Mexico border. Today, Mesilla Valley Transportation specializes in providing time sensitive freight service between major manufacturing areas in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

“We are committed to using technology that is cost-effective, reliable and available today to operate the most efficient fleet in the country,” Ray states. “That way we will become a first-choice transportation provider for our customers and one of the most respected organizations in the trucking industry.”

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