Trucking Biz Buzz

Spot volumes and rates still up from last year

Spot truckload load volume continues to increase and set record highs, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Compared to last August, freight volume is up 32 percent. Volumes also increased for all three equipment categories: van load availability went up 36 percent, reefer freight was up 31 percent, and flatbed volume has increased 56 percent.

In addition to volumes, rates have also improved. Van and flatbed rates both went up 14 percent, whereas reefer rates increased by 5.7 percent.

Freight availability for August remained steady when compared to July with only a 0.4 percent improvement. Over a month, van freight volume was up 0.2 percent and reefer volume rose 6.2 percent. Flatbed volumes actually went down 2.4 percent. According to DAT, July’s high flatbed volume was uncharacteristic. Rates for all three equipment categories decreased slightly, also a result of unusually high mid-summer numbers.


Port of KC terminal reopening after seven years of closure

The Port of Kansas City-Woodswether Terminal will reopen, according to a Port Authority Kansas City news release.

Kaw Valley Companies will serve as the operator for the facility. The port will be open to barge traffic only. Woodswether Terminal has been closed since 2007.

Port Authority Vice President Marissa Cleaver Wamble told The Kansas City Star that $6 million will be needed to open up the port to rail freight. In addition to talks with Union Pacific, the authority has applied for grants to fund rail access.


EPA gives first approval for ‘DME’ in trucks

A California company has become the first to win the thumbs up from the Environmental Protection Agency to sell dimethyl ether, or DME, to power heavy-duty trucks. Globe Newswirereports the fuel is made from methane and delivers the same performance as diesel, but doesn’t congeal in cold weather or create soot.

The company, Oberon Fuels of San Diego, is working closely with Volvo to develop trucks that will use DME.


Western Star introduces the new 5700XE

Land Line Field Editor Suzanne Stempinski was on the scene Thursday in Las Vegas as Western Star Truck Sales Inc. unveiled the new 5700XE Class 8 highway truck. Stempinski was scheduled to test drive the new 5700XE today. Watch for her report and details on the new features.

According to Western Star General Manager Michael Jackson, the XE stands for extreme efficiency. The new truck combines the Western Star style and durability with Detroit fuel efficiency and Daimler aerodynamic technology.

Featuring a 126-inch bumper to back of cab measurement and a set-back axle, the truck is available in a range of spacious and lightweight sleeper configurations.

The 5700XE can be spec’d with the Detroit DD15 and DD16 engines, 455-505 hp and 600 hp, respectively. A Detroit Powertrain option featuring the DD15 can be selected for maximum efficiency in fuel and overall costs. The Detroit DT12 is the standard engine for the 5700XE.


Aftermarket diesel parts maker fined $1 million by CARB

The California Air Resources Board has fined a diesel parts manufacturer $1 million for selling aftermarket equipment that modified emission control systems.

According to a CARB news release, investigators for the air quality agency discovered H&S Performance LLC was selling diesel engine parts and modifications that hadn’t been exempted from California’s emissions control system anti-tampering laws. State law prohibits the sale, delivery and installation of parts that modify emissions control systems of vehicles unless equipment manufacturers have demonstrated the devices don’t reduce effectiveness of emissions control systems.

“An important part of California’s clean air efforts is maintaining the integrity of the emissions control systems on the millions of vehicles that travel our highways each day,” CARB Enforcement Chief Jim Ryden said, according to the release.

“We take it very seriously when any manufacturer fails to follow the required procedure to prove that its performance products do not reduce the capabilities of the original emissions control system.”

CARB said aftermarket performance parts manufacturers are allowed to sell parts in California after a comprehensive engineering evaluation is performed to ensure the parts don’t create more emissions.

The news release stated that $750,000 of the fine will be paid to the California Air Pollution Control Fund. The remaining $250,000 will be sent to the School Bus and Diesel Emission Reduction Supplemental Environmental Project, which funds cleaner vehicles and equipment in California.

“This settlement only covers the illegal marketing and sales of these devices in the California market,” CARB said in the release.


More than 16,000 triangle warning signs recalled

According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document, Imperial Supplies, LLC is recalling more than 16,000 triangle warning signs. The recalled warning triangles do not properly reflect light.

Manufactured by Torch, reports indicate that the triangle warning signs, labeled C&J, fail to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Standard No. 125, “warning devices,” and may reflect an inadequate amount of light.

The Imperial Triangle Warning model numbers affected are 0050250 and 0050253.

Imperial Supplies will notify customers and will replace the triangle warning signs with new signs. Drivers who own one of the recalled models may contact Imperial Supplies customer service at 800-558-2808, ext. 4964344. Owners can also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236.


Freight Transportation Services Index for July rises

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Freight Transportation Services Index for July increased by 0.9 percent to 119.6. July’s TSI increase comes after a one-month decline.

The July index is 26.5 percent above the low during the recession in April 2009 and just 0.5 percent below the all-time high (120.3) set in May 2014.

Water and pipelines were the only freight modes to experience a decline for July. Industrial production, which includes manufacturing and construction, increased. Shipments and inventories of manufactured goods also increased. Both overall employment and transportation employment went up.

Freight Transportation Services Index measures month-to-month changes in freight shipments in tons and ton-miles. This information is used to measure the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry.


Autonomous Peterbilt truck showcased at ITS World Congress

Autonomous driving technologies were featured at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America’s 2014 World Congress in Detroit recently, and the Peterbilt Model 579 concept truck was used to demonstrate the new system.

Technologies used by the Model 579 include:

  • Radar-based adaptive cruise control that automatically accelerates and decelerates to maintain safe following distances.
  • Lane departure warning systems, which use cameras to detect land edges and striping and alert the driver if the vehicle is drifting outside of its lane.
  • GPS system to add features such as last mile routing, parking assist and new driver proficiency.

“Heavy-duty trucks are an ideal platform for automated operation because, compared to motorists, commercial vehicles travel a majority of their miles on modern highways, at constant speeds and for extended periods of time,” said Bill Kahn, Peterbilt Principal Engineer and Manager of Advance Concepts, in a press release.

According to Peterbilt, vehicles equipped with autonomous technology complements, rather than replaces, the driver.

The Intelligent Transportation Society of America’s 2014 World Congress is held in the United States every three years and rotates between Europe and Asia.


New technology disables cell phones in cabs

A 66-year-old beer and soda distributing company in Mechanicville, N.Y., has installed technology in the cab of its trucks that blocks cell phone use, texting or Internet access while the truck is moving.

DeCresente Distributing Co. Vice President Tom Turcotte told the Times Union the bottom line is getting drivers home safely.

Another company official says drivers have adjusted to having their electronics disabled over the last year.


Truck registration up from last year

IHS Automotive reports that registrations for new and used Class 8 trucks were up more than 10 percent in the second quarter of this year compared with last year.

That equates to more than 363,000 trucks and is the highest number of registrations since IHS started tracking them in 2005. Second-quarter registrations in the April-June period were up 13 percent from last year.

According the report, the significant growth could be signs of a strengthening economy.



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