Trucking Biz Buzz

Average spot rates continue to decline for all three modes

For the third consecutive week, spot rate averages for freight were down across the board for the week ending Saturday, July 25. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates went down 2 cents to $1.83. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.23, 9 cents lower from the previous week. Rates for the month of June were up 1.1 percent from the previous month and declined 10 percent since June 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 1.7 percent to 1.6 loads per truck. Arkansas was the only state to have a ratio of 5.5 or greater. 

Reefer rates were reduced by 2 cents to $2.15. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.63, a relatively large slide of 13 cents compared to the week prior. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates at $1.54. Compared with June 2014, reefer rates are down 8.6 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went up 5.3 percent to 4.1 loads per truck. Two states, New Mexico and Arkansas, have ratios of 12 or more.

Flatbed rates declined by a penny to $2.14. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.92. Phoenix marked a low rate of $2.01. Rates are up 0.5 percent for the month, but are down 9.9 percent in the past 12 months. There were 13.2 loads per truck for flatbeds, an increase of 14 percent from the previous week. Slightly less than half of all states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.


Fiat Chrysler receives harshest penalty on record by NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has had its hands tied with massive recalls this year, and now the administration is laying down the law. NHTSA has handed Fiat Chrysler Automobile its harshest penalty in the administration’s history.

According to a NHTSA press release, Fiat Chrysler will be required to submit to rigorous federal oversight, buy back defective vehicles from owners, and pay a $105 million civil penalty. The penalties are in response to 23 safety recalls that affected more than 11 million vehicles.

In a public hearing earlier this month, Fiat Chrysler admitted to violating the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. More specifically, the auto manufacturer violated effective and timely recall remedies, notification to owners and dealers, and notification to NHTSA.

More than half a million vehicles with defective suspension parts can be sold back to Fiat Chrysler. Owners of Jeeps that are susceptible to catching on fire will be able to trade in their vehicles for above-market value. Owners who do not wish to trade in their vehicle will receive a financial incentive to get their vehicle repaired. Eligible owners will be notified.

Fiat Chrysler will also be under the probing eye of federal regulators for the next three years. The company must hire an independent monitor approved by NHTSA.

The civil penalty includes a $70 million cash penalty, another $20 million to meet performance requirements, and $15 million if the independent monitor discovers additional violations. The previous record was set in January when Honda was given a $70 million civil penalty.


More than one million Chrysler vehicles recalled over vulnerable software

Just days after Sens. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., introduced the SPY Car Act, Chrysler has filed a recall that affects 1.4 million vehicles. Software systems in affected vehicles are vulnerable to hacking.

Identified as early as January 2014, the defect can allow a third party to penetrate the software security and possibly control parts of the vehicle system. Certain models of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles from 2013 to 2015 are part of the recall. Owners of affected vehicles will be notified and mailed a USB drive that will update the software and eliminate the vulnerability. The software update can also be downloaded onto a personal USB drive by visiting

Back in January 2004, FCA US LLC – formerly Chrysler Group LLC – identified the security breach through a penetration test. FCA US immediately began working on solutions and improvements to the issue.

On July 14, an FCA US committee approved of a measure to provide affected customers with an extended warranty program to provide free software updated. The following day, the company contacted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue a Technical Service Bulletin. Single market testing was successfully complete on July 23, leading to the recent nationwide recall.

Chrysler vehicles affected are:

  • 2015 Chrysler 200
  • 2015 Chrysler 300
  • 2015 Dodge Challenger
  • 2015 Dodge Charger
  • 2014-2015 Dodge Durango
  • 2013-2015 Dodge Viper
  • 2014-2015 Jeep Cherokee
  • 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • 2013-2015 Ram 1500, 2500, 3500, 4500 and 5500

To date, no real-world system hacks have occurred. Only systems in a research setting are known to have been breached.

Owners can contact Chrysler customer service at 800-853-1403. The recall number is R40.

On July 23, Land Line reported on a new bill introduced to the Senate titled the Security and Privacy in Your Car Act, or SPY Car Act. The bill addresses the issue of hackers gaining access to motor vehicle computer systems. SPY Car Act will require manufacturers to set and apply safety standards to ensure vehicle systems cannot be compromised. In consultation with the Federal Trade Commission, NHTSA will regulate and enforce the SPY Care Act if signed into law.


New Love’s Travel Stop opens in Knightstown, Ind.

Drivers going through Indiana on Interstate 70 will have a new location to stop at. Love’s Travel Stops has announced its latest opening in Knightstown, Ind., off of Exit 115 on I-70.

Love’s newest travel stop will off gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items and name-brand electronics. Restaurants include a McDonald’s and Subway.

For truckers, Knightstown’s Love’s will feature seven showers, 89 parking spaces, RFID cardless fueling and Cat scales.

Drivers can earn up to five points with their “My Love Rewards” loyalty cards at all Love’s locations for a limited time.


CARB announces $250,000 Navistar fine over DPF verification

The dog days of summer have not been kind to truck-making giant Navistar.

One week after the Environmental Protection Agency filed a civil lawsuit seeking $300 million in fines and penalties, the California Air Resources Board announced it will fine the Lisle, Ill.-based manufacturer of International trucks.

Navistar failed to properly demonstrate the emissions compliance of one of the company’s diesel particulate filter systems, according to Todd Sax, recently named CARB’s Enforcement Chief.

“Companies that are in the business of providing pollution control technology for vehicles must make sure that their products actually do what they say they will do,” Sax said, according to a CARB news release. “Navistar sold diesel particulate filters in California without proper testing at specified intervals, in violation of our air quality laws.

“To their credit, once they were notified of these infractions, they took prompt action and cooperated fully with ARB.”

California’s Verification Procedure requires diesel particulate filters to be tested for compliance after a specific number of units are sold or leased in the state market. The testing results are required to be submitted to CARB’s executive officer after each phase of testing.

CARB says Navistar failed to follow the in-use compliance requirements of the Verification Procedure for International’s DPX Catalyzed Soot Filter System.

“The company had sold more than 200 in California, with many installed on school buses in the San Diego County region, which should have triggered the required testing,” CARB’s news release states.

Navistar agreed to follow all required testing and verification procedures and paid $187,000 to the state’s Air Pollution Control fund to support air quality research. The company also paid $62,500 to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to clean up school bus fleets throughout California.

The settlement announcement comes shortly after the EPA filed a civil lawsuit seeking $300 million. In that case, EPA alleges Navistar mislabeled some model year engines as being 2009 model year when the air quality organization said they should have been labeled as 2010, and should have met 2010 emissions standards.


EPA sues Navistar for $300 million in penalties

Navistar’s decision years ago to meet ever-stringent emissions standards by using Advanced Exhaust Gas Recirculation, or EGR, continues to bite the truck-making giant.

After spending a reported $700 million on its now failed emissions technology systems, Navistar could face at least $300 million in legal penalties from the federal government. The company says it will fight the allegations.

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency filed a civil lawsuit seeking $300 million in penalties. The EPA claims Navistar made International trucks with 7,750 engines that didn’t meet 2010 federal emissions standards.

According to the Springfield News-Sun, Navistar completed 7,750 trucks in 2010. The company classified the trucks’ engines as 2009 model year engines because it began assembling them in 2009. The EPA reportedly say in the civil complaint the trucks didn’t meet 2010 federal emissions standards.

“Because (Navistar) completed manufacturing and assembling processes for the subject engines in 2010 … each and every engine was ‘produced’ in 2010 and is therefore not a model 2009 engine,” the complaint said, according to the News-Sun.

While the rest of the trucking industry met recent federal truck emissions standards by using selective catalytic reduction, or SCR, Navistar gambled that its EGR systems would improve enough to meet the regulations.

They never did, and the company exhausted emissions credits it had built up and sometimes bought. International finally abandoned the exclusive use of EGR in 2012 following the ousting of former company CEO Daniel Ustian.

The Lisle, Ill.-based truck manufacturer typically remains quiet on legal allegations. A company spokesman, however, struck back at the EPA’s claim.

“We dispute these allegations,” Steve Schrier, Navistar spokesman, told Land Line Monday.

“We believe our 2010 engine transition was appropriate, and we intend to aggressively defend our position going forward.”

“Beyond this, we don’t comment on pending litigation.”

In 2012, Navistar announced it was ceasing production of 15-liter MaxxForce diesel engines for Class 8 trucks and halting the production of all EGR-only technology in other Class 8 engines. The Environmental Protection Agency had previously notified Navistar it could be fined up to $285 million for selling back-dated engines during the 2010 engine transition and Navistar’s inability to meet federal NOx emissions standards.

Navistar is no stranger to legal battles.

In December 2014, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered that 13 of 14 civil lawsuits brought against Navistar for MaxxForce engines would be consolidated into one case.

The consolidated lawsuits say Navistar’s use of Advanced Exhaust Gas Recirculation emission control system, or EGR, was defective and resulted in repeated engine failures and frequent repairs and downtime.

The consolidated lawsuits all claim the MaxxForce engines with EGR were defective, and suffered “repeated failures and fault warnings, resulting in costly and time-consuming repairs,” court documents say. Together, they will be adjudicated in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois, near both the Lisle, Ill. headquarters of Navistar and many plaintiffs.


Goodyear opens three new Commercial Tire and Service Centers

Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. has opened three Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Centers. The centers are located in Michigan, Alabama and Texas.

New Dunlop, Kelly and Goodyear brand medium truck tires will be available at the new Commercial Tire and Service Centers. Goodyear retreads will also be available. Services available include Goodyear-Fleet HQ 24/7 Emergency Roadside Service and tire balancing.

Locations of the new centers include Dearborn, Mich.; Montgomery, Ala.; and Garland, Texas. The Montgomery location is an 18,000-square-foot-center with four service bays. The 24,000-square-foot location in Dearborn includes two service bays. Garland will feature two bays in a 14,000-square-foot location.


More than 40,000 people attended Walcott Truckers Jamboree

Last weekend’s Walcott Truckers Jamboree at the World’s Largest Truckstop in Walcott, Iowa, was a huge success. Nearly 41,000 people attended the 36th annual truck show.

According to a press release, attendees came from all over North America, including 21 different states and three Canadian provinces. A Super Truck Beauty Contest, pork chop cookout, Trucker Olympics, carnival games and free concerts were among the more than 150 exhibits at the show. The truck beauty contest attracted 67 contestants. More than 150 vehicles were shown during the antique truck display.

Special to this year’s show, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association received its brand-new tour truck from Western Star Truck Sales Inc. OOIDA’s tour truck driver Jon Osburn accepted the keys to a new 5700XE truck while retiring the former “Spirit of the American Trucker” tour truck. The new “Spirit” truck features a distinctive blue paint job emblazoned with Western Star’s Phantom Graphic package.

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum also celebrated the 100th birthday of its 1915 Mack AB during the Walcott Truckers Jamboree.

Next year’s show will take place July 14-16, 2016. For a complete list of this year’s Super Truck Beauty Contest winners, check out Walcott’s website.


Trucks help boost freight in May

The Freight Transportation Service Index increased by 0.8 percent in May to 122.7 from 121.7 in April. April saw a decrease that was preceded by the only month-to-month increase for the year in March, and May experienced a return to a rise in the index, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Air, rail carloads and rail intermodal freight decreased in May compared with the previous month. However, truck and waterborne freight experienced large increases, bringing the index to a net gain.

May was only the second month of the year to have a month-to-month increase in the index. March freight rose by 1.4 percent. TSI has gone up 29.6 percent since April 2009, when the index was at a historic low of 94.6.

Trucking freight received its first monthly increase after three consecutive months of declines.

Freight shipments are up 1.7 percent from March 2014, up 15.4 percent from five years ago, and up 9.2 percent from 10 years ago.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index. The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.


Bulldog Hiway Express merges with Daseke Inc.

Truck load and intermodal carrier Bulldog Hiway Express has announced that it will be merging with trucking company Daseke Inc. Bulldog President and CEO Phil Byrd will join the Daseke board.

Operating throughout the United States and Canada, Bulldog handles dedicated and for-hire, open-deck operations, intermodal port deliveries and heavy hauls with loads reaching 180,000 pounds, according to a press release. The company works largely with the automotive industry and the wind, solar and nuclear power energy industry.

Based in Charleston, S.C., the company was founded in 1959 and currently has hundreds of power units and more than 400 trailers. Bulldog also operates terminals in Savannah, Ga., and Mobile, Ala.

Bulldog joins a growing list of other companies that have joined forces with Daseke, including Point Distributing, E.W. Wylie, J. Grady Randolph, Central Oregon Truck Co. and Lone Star Transportation. Daseke is the second-largest open-deck/specialty carrier in North America with more than 2,800 tractors and more than 5,800 open-deck trailers.



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