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Jax-based auto hauler invests millions to upgrade fleet and tech

Jax-based auto hauler invests millions to upgrade fleet and tech

Jacksonville-based Centurion Auto Logistics Inc., a hauler of high-end automobiles, has invested almost $7 million in fleet upgrades and the development of a workflow app to automate receipts, prevent mis-hauls and better communicate with customers.

Much of the investment, $6.5 million, went to purchasing 23 new trucks, CEO Rick Ingram told the Business Journal. The new trucks will be 80 feet long, five feet longer than the former federal limit of 75 feet; the new federal limit of 80 feet allows for an extra unit per truck, Ingram noted. The new trucks can haul nine vehicles each.

The fleet investment also lowers maintenance costs and adds crash avoidance technology, which could lower costs related to accidents. While other auto haulers are also updating their fleets, Ingram said Centurion is the first to purchase trucks with crash avoidance technology.

“We don’t buy just the basics,” said Ingram.

The modernized fleet is also a strong recruiting tool, Ingram noted. Trucking companies from drayage to couriers have been clamoring for drivers as a nationwide shortage stretches on, and Centurion is no exception.

“They have their choice of who they want to work for,” said Ingram. “A lot of them will call our HR and ask what type of truck we’re putting them in.”

Centurion will look to add about 20 more trucks in the late second quarter of 2019, Ingram said.

The company also spent $300,000 developing its Auto Hauler app. Centurion worked with PeopleNet to develop the app, which allows haulers to scan vehicles as they are loaded, verifying the VIN numbers at the loading facility instead of at the point of delivery. The app also sends shipping information to customers, who previously had to wait 24 hours to find out if their vehicles had shipped.