Universal Express Introduces The Intermodal Coach
Richard Altomare, President and CEO of Universal Express, Inc. can certainly be considered an innovator.
His company owns and operates several subsidiaries including Universal Express Capital, Universal Express Logistics (including VirtualBellhop, WorldPost and Luggage Express) and the Private Postal Network (PPN).
It's with that same spirit of innovation that Altomare has taken his company into a new area of transportation; an area that might just be the "new wave" of freight delivery.
Universal Express (USXP) recently announced that they have secured the exclusive North American rights to a new "over the road" bus vehicle, known as the Intermodal Coach, designed to carry both passengers and express freight, and also has plans to sell and lease at least 3,000 of such vehicles over the next 10 years.
"This intermodal concept now enables others to re-think and re-budget and it opens up a 140 billion dollar time sensitive and 400 billion dollar freight market to us," said Altomare. "This patent right, coupled with our growing corporate infrastructure energizes and should make Universal Express and other expeditors more independent of traditional and more expensive methods of shipping."
"With American fuel, insurance, labor and other costs increasing, Universal Express and its affiliates have simply achieved a less expensive form of movement of luggage packages and mail", continued Altomare.
"This approximately $400,000 motorcoach captures a second stream of revenue by adding to the already active bus passenger business. Prior to this patent, buses simply haven't had the cargo carrying space to move more than limited express packages", said Cecilia Vesnesky of Universal Express, Inc.
THE INTERMODAL COACH
The vehicle made its debut February 2001 at the United Motorcoach Association in Atlantic City, NJ. It has also appeared at the TransComp event in Charlotte, NC last year.
The basic Neoplan Intermodal Coach still seats up to 35 passengers, but it is equipped with a 20 foot standardized container in the rear. The same container one sees on ships, trains or planes with 22,000 lbs. of cargo capability each.
James Gaspard, Vice President of Sales for Neoplan, a Colorado-based bus manufacturer, is the creative force behind the design of the Intermodal Coach. "I've been in the rail business for over 10 years," Gaspard says, "and I know intermodal. As the Vice President of a bus building company, I was looking to develop a vehicle to increase our customers' profitability."
"The bus industry has historically struggled. With this vehicle, a company now has two independent revenue streams; to run express freight with express passengers. Currently American buses carry over 860,000,000 passengers a year, and inter-city bus routes have simply not been able to take advantage of the opportunity that now lies before them."
"Our prototype has been on the road since January 2001. It adds increased profitability to the economic potential of every bus mile. In essence, buses have already covered their overhead – so they can price to win"
"In our pricing of this vehicle, we referenced the price of the top of the line luxury coaches, which run around $450,000: we tried to keep our price at that level."
INTERMODAL BUS SPECIFICATIONS
Overall Length - 44 ft. 7 in.
Overall Width - 102 in.
Overall Height - 13 ft. 5.5 in.
Passenger Cabin - Overall Length - 21 ft. 8 in.
Standing Height - 69.5 in. for both upper and lower level.
Engine - Detroit Diesel Series 60, 12.7 litre, 430 HP
Transmission - Allison B 500R
Vehicle empty weight(all components installed and full tank of fuel)- 37,600 lbs.
"This new transportation paradigm may also have global impact and the barriers to entry for competition with Universal Express will be extremely costly to overcome", continued Gaspard.
"We look forward to building with Universal Express as they have over the past decade thought out a creative and potentially unbelievably profitable transportation paradigm. Over the years I have had ongoing discussions with numerous transportation executives regarding the potential of this vehicle and the industry."
"Mr. Altomare has impressed us as a man of unusual vision and courageous action and it seems that Universal Express has effectively beat the larger companies to the punch on this Intermodal Bus concept and other new cost-effective postal stores and shipping ideas."
"With this exclusive arrangement, Universal Express and its financing subsidiaries should become a formidable cash generator to rival any existing transportation company. The American Dream of innovation, persistence and a refusal to accept the status quo has just created, in our opinion, America's newest and most exciting company to watch - Universal Express."
"From nowhere, Universal Express has out-flanked, out-positioned and out-thought most transportation companies. What a pleasure to be part of and to watch an industry re-thinking itself", concluded Gaspard.