Trucking Biz Buzz Archive

C.H. Robinson accepting scholarship apps through mid-February

The 2014 C.H. Robinson Foundation Scholarship Program for employees and dependent children of truckload contract carriers is accepting applications through Feb. 15, 2014.

Ten undergraduate scholarships are open to full-time employees of qualified truckload contract carriers and their children who plan to continue their education at an accredited college or vocational school. Each scholarship holds an award value up to $2,500 (USD) for tuition for the 2014 – 2015 academic year.

All applicants must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Be a full-time employee of a qualified truckload contract carrier, who has a minimum of one year of employment with the company as of the application deadline date.
  • Be a dependent child of a qualified employee of a qualified truckload contract carrier of C.H. Robinson, who plans to enroll in transportation logistics, supply chain or business related program.

To view the full scholarship program guidelines and to apply, go to http://sms.scholarshipamerica.org/chrobinson-carrier/.

For more info contact foundation@chrobinson.com.

 

Daseke and Boyd Bros. announce merger

Daseke Inc. of Addison, Texas, and Clayton, Ala.-based Boyd Bros. Transportation have announced a merger, creating one of the largest open-deck/specialty fleets in North America.

“Combined with our other companies – which include Smokey Point Distributing, E.W. Wylie, J. Grady Randolph Inc., and Central Oregon Truck Co. – more than 2,000 tractors and 3,600 trailers are available to our customers,” said Don Daseke, president and CEO of Daseke. “The combination puts us well into the top five in open-deck/specialty carriers.”

The merger also includes Boyd Bros. companies: WTI Transport, based in Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Mid Seven Transportation, based in Des Moines, Iowa; Boyd Intermodal; and Boyd Logistics.

According to Chris Cooper, COO of Boyd Bros., Boyd Bros. and its companies will remain intact with no personnel changes expected resulting from the merger.

Don Daseke will be chairman of the board, and Richard Bailey, president of Boyd Bros., will join the Daseke board as vice chairman. Chris Cooper will also join the board.

 

New Love’s opens Dec. 5 in Ohio

If you run through Ohio on I-75, you’ll like this news. Love’s Travel Stops is opening a new stop in Dayton on Thursday, Dec. 5, with 98 parking spaces and driver services.

The new Love’s is located at 2217 S. Edwin C. Moses Blvd. and is open 24 hours a day. Along with the parking spaces, the new Love’s offers a bulk DEF at the pump in all diesel lanes, RFID cardless fueling, CAT scales, seven showers, a Hardee’s restaurant and gourmet coffee. A Love’s Truck Tire Care center will open later this month.

Founded in 1964 by Tom Love, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores is headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., and remains entirely family-owned and operated.

 

Goodyear opens new commercial tire center in Tulsa

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has added a new Commercial Tire & Service Center to its network. The Goodyear Commercial Tire & Service Center in Tulsa, Okla., reaffirms Goodyear’s commitment to Oklahoma. The Tulsa store’s opening follows the opening of a Goodyear Commercial Tire & Service Center in Oklahoma City last June.

The 13,000-square-foot outlet is located at 107 S. 111th East Avenue in Tulsa, just off Interstate 44. The service center offers the following services: new Goodyear, Dunlop and Kelly brand medium truck tires; Goodyear retreaded truck tires; 24/7 emergency roadside service; truck alignments; truck tire repair and other tire-related services.

 

Freightliner introduces new fairing at GATS

A factory-installed roof fairing is now available as standard on Freightliner CascadiaEvolution 72-inch mid-roof XT models and as an option on Freightliner Cascadia 72-inch mid-roof XT trucks. The new roof fairing was introduced at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas.

Available with 12-inch or 20-inch side extenders, the roof fairing’s overall height is the same as the truck’s raised roof.

According to Freightliner, the addition of the new fairing will provide up to a 2.8 percent fuel economy improvement over previous generation models.

A similarly designed 60-inch XT Roof Fairing will be available in 2014.

 

New Goodyear app helps get truckers back on the road

You’re a truck driver whose rig has experienced a tire-related issue and you are stuck on the side of the highway. You need to get back on the road quickly.

Imagine having the ability to instantly connect with Goodyear FleetHQ, which offers the commercial trucking industry’s premier emergency roadside service, simply by touching the screen of your Android or iPhone. The new Goodyear RoadService App makes this possible.

The Goodyear RoadService App, which was introduced this week at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, can be downloaded to Androids from Google’s Play Store and to iPhones from Apple’s App Store, at no charge.

With a touch of the screen, a driver will be placed in contact with the 24/7 Goodyear-FleetHQ Solution Center, where trained tire professionals will collect vital information, including the location of the driver’s immobilized truck. Goodyear-FleetHQ Solution Center professionals will then locate the nearest Goodyear commercial tire dealership and dispatch a tire service technician with the right tire and adequate equipment to the truck’s location. The technician will assess the truck’s tire condition and render the appropriate tire service.

“Unlike other trucking apps, the Goodyear RoadService App focuses exclusively on connecting truck drivers with the help they need to get their trucks back on the road quickly and efficiently,” says Jose Martinez, Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems business and digital solutions manager. “Fleets and owner-operators negotiate a set price with their local Goodyear commercial tire dealer. This way, there are no unpleasant pricing ‘surprises’ while they are away from home at the time of replacement.”

According to Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems, Goodyear-FleetHQ provides the fastest roll-time in the commercial trucking industry: an average of just two hours and 11 minutes from the moment that a truck driver contacts the 24/7 Goodyear-FleetHQ Solution Center to the moment his or her truck returns to service.

 

Nominees for 2014 Commercial Truck of the Year announced

The 2014 American Truck Dealers Commercial Truck of the Year is an annual award recognizing the top truck entries in the heavy- and medium-duty categories. Seven nominees have been announced.

The heavy-duty (Class 8) nominees are International ProStar with Cummins ISX15, Kenworth T880 vocational truck with Paccar MX-13 engine, and Peterbilt Model 579. The medium-duty (Class 3-7) nominees are Hino 195h-DC, International TerraStar 4x4, Kenworth Class 6 K370 cabover and Peterbilt Model 220.

The award recognizes a winner in each category. The winners will be announced Sunday, Jan. 26, during the 2014 ATD Convention & Expo, which runs concurrently with the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention & Expo in New Orleans Jan. 24-27.

The winners will be determined by a panel of journalists, who test drove and evaluated the trucks at the Manheim’s auction site in Orlando, Fla., on Oct. 18. The judging categories include innovation, design, safety and driver satisfaction.

 

Shell jumpstarts Truckers for Troops with $5,000 donation

Shell Rotella has announced it will donate $5,000 to this year’s Truckers for Troops campaign, just as it’s done in the past.

OOIDA is sponsoring its 7th annual Truckers for Troops campaign drive during December to raise funds for sending care packages with items of comfort and cheer to our armed forces stationed in war zones. This year’s campaign will run from Dec. 9-13, 2013.

Since 2007, OOIDA members have raised $362,062.34, which has enabled the Association to send thousands of large care packages to U.S. troops serving in combat zones. In six years, OOIDA has sent 2,526 packages full of comfort items, necessities, fun stuff and handmade cards. Those items made life a little brighter for thousands of military personnel and military dogs.

Care packages are filled at OOIDA headquarters in Grain Valley, MO, and shipped overseas. Since OOIDA started Truckers for Troops in 2007, those boxes packed at headquarters have delivered items to more than 30,000 individuals.

Every year, Land Line Now, the Association’s official radio show on Sirius XM satellite radio, promotes the campaign during its regularly scheduled broadcasts each day from 7 to 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. to midnight Eastern Time. You can hear Land Line Now on The Road Dog Channel, Sirius 128.

During the campaign period new and renewal memberships are discounted to the special price of only $25 for – a savings of $20 off regular $45 dues. Of the dues amount paid during the campaign week, 10 percent will go toward the Truckers for Troops fund. OOIDA will then match those funds.

The special $25 membership price will remain in effect until Jan. 31, 2014. Only memberships during the campaign dates will go toward the Truckers for Troops fund.

Individual tax-deductible contributions to the Truckers for Troops fund are also welcome and can be paid to the OOIDA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.

The list for 2014’s boxes is currently being built. If you have a family member or friend serving in a war zone with the U.S. military, and would like for them to get a care package, send their name and complete address to nikki_johnson@ooida.com.

 

Annual Billboard awards: Shell Rotella will sponsor Haul of Fame

Shell Rotella is a sponsor of the 10th annual Billboard Tour Conference and Awards taking place Nov. 13-14 in New York. The conference culminates in The Billboard Touring Awards, which honors the industry’s top artists, venues, and professionals based primarily on achievements on the Billboard Boxscore chart. In its second year as a sponsor, Shell Rotella is taking its support a step further by teaming with Billboard to create the Shell Rotella Haul of Fame.

The Shell Rotella Haul of Fame celebrates the hardworking trucking and touring community from the music industry’s Top 10 Haulers of the past decade. Inductees are those who move the most trucks and buses across North America, bringing music to the people safely and efficiently. Hundreds of tour buses and vendor big rigs course through North America every week, delivering thousands of shows to millions of fans annually.

Touring drivers and crews put in thousands of miles on the road each year to ensure America’s top performers and musicians are able to take the stage. The Shell Rotella Haul of Fame’s first tour selections are Bon Jovi, Brad Paisley, Dave Matthews Band, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, The Rolling Stones, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, U2 and the Vans Warped Tour. One of the tours will be named Live Music Hauler of the Decade at the Billboard Touring Awards.

The artists, tours and productions that make up this Haul of Fame crossed the entire Lower 48 and Canada over the past decade, rolled up to venues more than 4,000 times, and traveled nearly 2 million miles leveraging some 200 motor coaches and nearly 500 tightly packed trailers and haulers combined on every tour.

Dan Arcy, OEM technical manager for Shell Lubricants, will participate in a seminar at the Billboard Touring Conference and Awards, speaking aboutproduction and transportation in the touring industry.

 

Two Macks on the move with Christmas trees for the U.S. Capitol

By Land Line staff

The 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree began its cross-country journey this week from the Colville National Forest near Usk, Wash., to the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol. It’s being transported by a 2014 Mack Pinnacle axle back model. In addition to the truck hauling the tree, Mack is also providing a second Pinnacle hauling companion trees to decorate other parts of the U.S. Capitol.

More than 300 people joined the U.S. Forest Service and state and local government representatives Nov. 1 to celebrate the harvesting of the 88-foot, 80-year-old Engelmann Spruce. The Pinnacle model hauling the tree will make 24 stops in cities nationwide during the next month before delivering its special cargo to our nation’s capital.

The Mack Pinnacle model is wrapped with a custom-designed decal featuring a resolute bulldog pulling a Christmas tree toward Washington, D.C. Mack Trucks has been a sponsor of the Capitol Christmas tree tour several times during the last few years, most recently in 2011 and 2012.

U.S. national forests have been providing a Christmas tree for the U.S. Capitol since 1964. The tree will be decorated with more than 5,000 handmade ornaments and lit in an official ceremony in early December.

 

Amsoil wins Global Media Award at SEMA

A 2013 Global Media Award was presented to Amsoil at the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association Show last week in Las Vegas. The winning product was the new Amsoil Diesel Injector Clean.

The SEMA award was created to recognize companies that create “cutting-edge” products for the international automotive industry. Thirty-six judges from 19 countries select products they believe will appeal to consumers worldwide, giving recipients of this award a global platform to showcase their products.

Nearly 2,500 products were on display in the SEMA New Product Showcase, from which the Global Media Awards are selected.

Formulated for all diesel types, Amsoil Diesel Injector Clean was introduced in July 2013.

 

Heartland Express acquires Gordon Trucking

By Land Line staff

Iowa-based Heartland Express Inc. is acquiring Gordon Trucking Inc. for approximately $300 million, the companies announced via press release on Monday, Nov. 11.

With combined total revenue of approximately $1 billion and a terminal network spanning from Washington to Florida and from Pennsylvania to Southern California, Heartland estimates the combined companies will operate the fifth-largest asset-based truckload fleet in North America.

The acquisition solidifies a West Coast operations base for Heartland, which previously had no facilities in that region.

GTI is a truckload carrier headquartered in Pacific, Wash. Founded by the Gordon family in 1946, the family remains actively involved in the business, which is primarily focused on dry van loads. However, roughly 20 percent of its business also comes from refrigerated loads and from freight brokerage operations. GTI’s equipment includes approximately 2,000 tractors and 6,500 trailers.

“GTI’s service center network is concentrated in strategic markets in the western United States, with major locations in Washington, Oregon, Northern California, Southern California and Idaho,” the release stated. “These locations have no overlap with Heartland’s locations and are expected to provide substantial geographic diversity to Heartland’s overall operations.”

GTI owners Larry and Virginia Gordon will retire, with Larry Gordon joining Heartland’s Board of Directors. Their sons, Steve and Scott Gordon, have joined Heartland’s management team.

Heartland acquired the company with about $300 million in cash, Heartland stock and assumed GTI debt, and an additional $60 million in net present value of expected future cash tax savings.

Heartland expects to use about $165 million of its cash reserves and have about $95 million in outstanding debt after the transaction and repayment of assumed debt, according to the release

The release notes that GTI has major customers that include Georgia Pacific, General Mills, Pepsi, Walmart and Unilever. Of GTI’s 10 largest customers by revenue, only five are among Heartland’s top 10 accounts.

Copyright © OOIDA

 

New Goodyear app helps get truckers back on the road
You’re a truck driver whose rig has experienced a tire-related issue and you are stuck on the side of the highway. You need to get back on the road quickly. Imagine having the ability to instantly connect with Goodyear FleetHQ, which offers the commercial trucking industry’s premier emergency roadside service, simply by touching the screen of your Android or iPhone. The new Goodyear RoadService App makes this possible. The Goodyear RoadService App, which was introduced this week at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, can be downloaded to Androids from Google’s Play Store and to iPhones from Apple’s App Store, at no charge. With a touch of the screen, a driver will be placed in contact with the 24/7 Goodyear-FleetHQ Solution Center, where trained tire professionals will collect vital information, including the location of the driver’s immobilized truck. Goodyear-FleetHQ Solution Center professionals will then locate the nearest Goodyear commercial tire dealership and dispatch a tire service technician with the right tire and adequate equipment to the truck’s location. The technician will assess the truck’s tire condition and render the appropriate tire service. “Unlike other trucking apps, the Goodyear RoadService App focuses exclusively on connecting truck drivers with the help they need to get their trucks back on the road quickly and efficiently,” says Jose Martinez, Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems business and digital solutions manager. “Fleets and owner-operators negotiate a set price with their local Goodyear commercial tire dealer. This way, there are no unpleasant pricing ‘surprises’ while they are away from home at the time of replacement.” According to Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems, Goodyear-FleetHQ provides the fastest roll-time in the commercial trucking industry: an average of just two hours and 11 minutes from the moment that a truck driver contacts the 24/7 Goodyear-FleetHQ Solution Center to the moment his or her truck returns to service.

 

Freightliner introduces new fairing at GATS
A factory-installed roof fairing is now available as standard on Freightliner CascadiaEvolution 72-inch mid-roof XT models and as an option on Freightliner Cascadia 72-inch mid-roof XT trucks. The new roof fairing was introduced at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas. Available with 12-inch or 20-inch side extenders, the roof fairing’s overall height is the same as the truck’s raised roof. According to Freightliner, the addition of the new fairing will provide up to a 2.8 percent fuel economy improvement over previous generation models. A similarly designed 60-inch XT Roof Fairing will be available in 2014.

 

Freightliner In-Cab Training system gets attention at GATS
Freightliner Trucks and Rolling Strongshowed off the first-ever OEM-designed-and-integrated in-cab exercise and flexibility system at the Great American Truck Show in Dallas this past week. The Freightliner In-Cab Training (FIT) System provides drivers with full-body strength-and-conditioning workouts in the comfort of their own cab. Developed in collaboration with Rolling Strong – a leader in driver wellness programs – the FIT System provides a simple and convenient exercise solution that encourages physical activity. Featuring a triple-grip handle that enables users to interchange three bands to change resistance levels, the system uses existing seat tether and bunk restraint mounting points for installing custom brackets, making it easy to attach and use. Truck drivers also have access to health, wellness and nutrition information through blogs, videos and forums located on the Freightliner Trucks online community website, along with a personal trainer via the FIT Channel on www.RollingStrong.com. The trainer helps keep drivers motivated, and provides new exercises that can be incorporated into fitness routines. The FIT system is available as a factory-installed option in all Freightliner Cascadia and Coronado sleeper cab models and for retro-fitting in Century Class and Columbia sleepers.

 

ATDynamics named to Inc. magazine's 2013 Top 500 fastest-growing

ATDynamics, a global supplier of semi-trailer rear-drag aerodynamics technology, has been named to Inc. magazine’s annual list of America’s fastest-growing private companies – the Inc. 500. The California company ranks no. 346 on the list, boasting a three-year sales growth of 1255 percent. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy – America’s independent entrepreneurs, including Microsoft, Zappos, Intuit, Jamba Juice, Zipcar, Clif Bar, Vizio, Oracle and other attention-getters.

 

Swift buys Central Refrigerated for $225 million
Swift Transportation Co., headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., has announced it has purchased Utah-based Central Refrigerated Transportation Inc. for $225 million. Swift’s acquisition of Central Refrigerated, a privately held company, will make it one of the largest temperature-controlled freight companies in the U.S. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s SAFER website, Central Refrigerated, which is headquartered in West Valley City, Utah, has 2,616 power units and 2,322 drivers. Swift has 15,212 power units and 14,300 drivers, according to SAFER. Jerry Moyes, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Swift, is also the principal owner of Central Refrigerated.

 

Wabash National recognized in top 50 'Best' U.S. manufacturers
The financial publication Industry Week has named Wabash National Corp. as one of its “Best 50 U.S. Manufacturers” – quite an achievement given the economic struggles of trailer makers in the past five years. Apple topped the list at No. 1. Wabash was ranked 49th. Wabash National, which is headquartered in Lafayette, Ind., makes mainly truck trailers – from dry vans and flatbeds to reefers and tankers. Wabash National’s operations are largely organized under three wholly owned subsidiaries: Transcraft Corp., Walker Group Holdings and Wabash National Trailer Centers Inc. Industry Week selects its top 50 based solely on the financial performance of the companies. This is the second time Wabash National was named among the 50 best, having made the list in 2006.

 

Goodyear unveils UniCircle retreads for wide-base tires
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has rolled out two new retread products designed to extend the service life of popular Goodyear wide-base tires. UniCircle retreads are spliceless and adhere snugly to the tire’s casing to enhance traction and help reduce tearing and chunking, says Brian Buckham, marketing manager for Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems. Buckham says that because there is no cutting or splicing during the UniCircle tread application process, the retreaded tires are uniform and balanced.

 

'Band Together' for the St. Christopher Fund begins Aug. 22
The benefit event that has been a top money-earner for the St. Christopher Fund was initially planned for the whole month of August, but it’s now been announced that the “Band Together” event begins Aug. 22 and wraps up Sept. 30. For the fourth annual fundraiser to benefit, the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund, TravelCenters of America has new tricolor blue and tricolor green bands for the campaign. At all TA and Petro locations, truckers, TravelCenters guests and employees are invited to make a donation of $1 or more and receive a commemorative wristband. Every penny will go to the St. Christopher Fund. SCF is a nonprofit organization that assists truck drivers suffering from financial hardship due to medical problems. The wristbands will also be available at the TA/Petro booth at the Great American Trucking Show Aug. 22-24 in Dallas. The third annual Band Together campaign that was held last year raised a record $278,207 for the St. Christopher Fund.

 

TA/Petro signs on to host truck stop tour with Lindsay Lawler
TravelCenters of America has signed on to host this year’s Highway Angel Truck Stop Tour featuring Highway Angel spokesperson and country recording artist Lindsay Lawler. The schedule of stops hasn’t been announced yet, but the tour is planning to hit the road in mid-August. Lawler says the trucking and country music industries used to go hand-in-hand, but somewhere along the line “that relationship fizzled.” “We’re looking forward to rebuilding that relationship and expanding the reach of a positive trucking industry image to those outside the industry through music,” she says. Tom O’Brien, president and CEO of TravelCenters of America, says he’s “thrilled” that Lawler will be performing at TA/Petro locations. “Lindsey’s mission is to bring light to all the great things about trucking,” he says, adding that her mission aligns well with what TA/Petro has been doing for some time. “Trucking and truck driving are great professions with terrific hard-working men and women,” says O’Brien. “We are happy to help put the spotlight on their work and entertain our guests at the same time.” The tour is designed to promote a better trucking industry image through the exposure of the Truckload Carriers Association's Highway Angel program. The tour will include 26 stops throughout the southeast and Midwest at TA and Petro Stopping Center branded locations. Each stop will feature an hour-long acoustic performance by Lawler from atop a flatbed truck.

 

TA says thousands have enrolled in their fitness program

TA reports that 3,823 truckers have enrolled in “Get Moving. Stay Fit.” The new program provides TA’s UltraOne Rewards Program members with awareness of the healthier options that are available when traveling over the road.

Some of those options include ways to add a fitness routine and how to identify items that are healthier on the menu in the restaurant as well as convenience products at the fuel island and travel store. It also provides truckers with an easy method of monitoring physical activity and selecting a nutritional focus each week during the eight-week program at the UltraOne kiosks located in TA and Petro Stopping Center locations.

The program was designed in cooperation with the President’s Challenge, the national program of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition.

 

Battle over 'Tony the Tiger' heads to Louisiana Supreme Court

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer

An attorney for the owner of Tony the Tiger has filed a writ with the Louisiana Supreme Court, asking the court to allow Tony’s owner to keep the Bengal-Siberian tiger. Tony has lived at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, LA, all of his life.

In April, the First Circuit Court of Appeal in Louisiana ruled that Sandlin’s permit to keep Tony was invalid because the truck stop, not Michael Sandlin, is Tony’s owner. “Neither Sandlin nor his designees lived on the premises of Tiger Truck Stop, where Tony was kept.”

According to court documents, the First Circuit Court affirmed a trial court’s decision enjoining the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in Louisiana from issuing a new permit to Sandlin and/or Tiger Truck Stop.

Sandlin has been fighting legal battles for several years to keep Tony, who has lived for 12 years at the Tiger Truck Stop.

Animal rights groups want Tony moved to a big cat sanctuary.

Copyright © OOIDA

 

Speedco charity golf outing raises $60,000 for Make-A-Wish

Speedco Inc. raised $60,000 for Make-A-Wish at its third biannual Speedco Fore Wishes golf tournament June 13. The original goal of raising $500,000 for the nonprofit was set in 2006, and was surpassed at this year’s golf outing.

Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Speedco teammates and friends were also joined by Matt, a 9-year-old wish child, and his family. Speedco surprised Matt by helping to grant his wish to go to Atlantis Paradise Island in The Bahamas later this summer.

 

Roehl to equip 500 more trailers with TrailerTails

Wisconsin-based Roehl Transport Inc. is installing ATDynamics TrailerTails on all of the company’s new trailers. Roehl, a U.S. truckload carrier, began testing TrailerTails in 2012 with the initial use of the rear drag reduction technology on 100 trailers. This month, it will boost that number to 500 additional TrailerTails.

Roehl President Rick Roehl says the on-road testing confirmed a fuel savings benefit, and drivers are finding the aerodynamic trails are safer, handle better in high winds, and reduce road spray.

ATDynamics, the California company that makes TrailerTails, projects that 50,000 TrailerTails will be on U.S. highways by 2014.

 

Melton Truck Lines free clinic takes new approach to wellness

An Oklahoma flatbed trucking company has a primary care health clinic just across the street from its headquarters and Tulsa terminal. At the clinic, Melton Truck Lines employees, employed drivers, owner-operators and their families receive free medical care.

The clinic is operated by IM Well Health, an Arkansas-based company that develops employer-based onsite and multi-employer clinics to serve employees and family members of their clients.
The clinics have doctors, physician’s assistants, nurses and even advanced care nurses.

One nurse practitioner is on duty at the clinic near Melton’s Tulsa terminal. Care is free for all Melton’s employees and families. If drivers have Melton insurance, they can be treated at any of the other IM Well Health clinics located in Oklahoma and Arkansas.

 

Band Together for the St. Christopher Fund begins Aug. 1

For the fourth annual fundraiser to benefit the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund, TravelCenters of America will have new tricolor blue and tricolor green bands for the campaign. The benefit event that has been a blockbuster money-earner for the St. Christopher Fund begins Aug. 1 and wraps up Aug. 31.

At all TA and Petro locations, trucks, TravelCenters guests and employees are invited to make  a donation of $1 or more and receive a commemorative wristband. Every penny will go to the St. Christopher Fund. SCF is a nonprofit organization that assists truck drivers suffering from financial hardship due to medical problems.

The wristbands will also be available at the TA/Petro booth at the Great American Trucking Show Aug. 22-24 in Dallas.

The third annual Band Together campaign that was held last year raised a record $278,207 for the St. Christopher Fund.

 

Pilot Flying J opens new travel center in Caddo Valley, Arkansas

By Land Line staff

Pilot Flying J announced the grand opening of a new travel center in Caddo Valley, Ark., according to a statement issued by the company on Monday, June 17.

The new center also boasts the third location of PJ Fresh Marketplace, the company’s new, fast casual dining concept. The new dining concept debuted in March at a Pilot Flying J travel center in St. Mary’s, Ga. The company plans to open more locations across the U.S. in the coming months.

Located off Interstate 30 at exit 78 at Highway 7, the travel center offers professional drivers and Caddo Valley area residents many amenities, including:

  • eight diesel lanes and 12 gasoline lanes with high-speed pumps for quicker refueling;
  • everyday products for quick shopping needs;
  • premium coffee and cappuccino selections; and
  • PJ Fresh Marketplace serving hearty meals, breakfast platters, crisp salads, flavorful sandwiches, a frozen yogurt bar, pizza, hot dogs and more.

The new facility is Pilot Flying J’s 9th in Arkansas and the 663rd overall in North America.

 

TA/Petro launches Citizen Driver award program

How would like to have a TA or Petro named after you? TravelCenters of America has launched its “Citizen Driver” award program. Among other recognition and honors, winners will have a TA or Petro location named after them.

TravelCenters President and CEO Tom O’Brien says nominees will be judged on factors including “exemplary citizenship in the driving community and otherwise, community involvement, leadership in their personal or professional lives, and healthy lifestyle.”

The Citizen Driver award program was first introduced by TravelCenters in March. The award web site is now available to accept professional driver nominations. Anyone – fleet owners, executives, co-workers, friends, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, trucking organization members, trucking industry suppliers – may nominate a professional driver for the award. Nomination forms can be found at www.ta-petro.com/citizendriveraward.

Nominations will be accepted to Nov. 30, 2013. All of the prizes for finalists and grand prize winners can be found on the Citizen Driver web pages. Winners of the Citizen Driver award will be honored at a special event at the 2014 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY.

 

Lucas Oil's MAVTV joins DirecTV line-up

MAVTV, America’s fastest-growing independent cable network, announced today that it will join the DirecTV line-up starting June 10 on Channel 219 between the Golf Channel (218) and NBC Sports (220). Since taking control of the Network in September of 2011, owner Lucas Oil Products Inc. has added 22 million American households to its original 4 million for a total of 26 million.

MAVTV American Real expects to top 30 million households by the end of 2013.

With a full schedule of more than 40 programs, ranging from the best in motorsports to original programming and classic films, MAVTV focuses on American families who have an appetite for action and adventure.

 

Truckworx Kenworth opens new parts and service location in Alabama

Truckworx Kenworth – Kenworth’s 2012 Parts and Service Dealer of the Year – has opened a new parts and service facility in Thomasville, AL. The new facility is located in Joe Davis Industrial Park just off of U.S. Route 43.
 
The new parts and service facility joins six other Truckworx Kenworth dealerships located in Birmingham, Dothan, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, AL, and Jackson (Richland), MS.  
 
CEO Bob Mitchell said opening the Thomasville location closes a significant service gap that existed in Southwest Alabama.  
 
“Local and transient customers no longer have to travel upwards of 100 miles or more to Montgomery or Mobile to receive quality heavy-duty service and parts,” Mitchell said.
 
Truckworx Kenworth-Thomasville is located at 2400 Joe Davis Industrial Blvd., in Joe Davis Industrial Park.  
 
The facility includes two buildings, one that houses parts and the other service. Truckworx Kenworth-Thomasville has a 5,000 square-foot area to allow for an extensive parts inventory.  The location will offer daily parts delivery. The six-acre service site offers customers plenty of truck and trailer parking.  
 
A lounge equipped with wireless Internet provides a comfortable place for drivers to catch up on paperwork while waiting for their trucks to be serviced. Its eight-bay service shop includes an area for express lube services and the only flywheel resurfacing machine within a 60-mile radius.
 
Truckworx Kenworth-Thomasville is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

 

Pilot Flying J adds more than 400 lanes of DEF nationwide

By Land Line staff

Pilot Flying J is on track to offer diesel exhaust fluid at the pump at nearly every diesel lane at the company’s travel centers and travel plazas across the U.S. by October.

In March, Pilot Flying J announced that the company’s network of DEF at the pump had reached 3,000 lanes nationwide. Moving toward the goal of offering the convenience of DEF at the pump at a vast majority of all diesel lanes by fall of this year, the company has increased the availability to 3,407 lanes across 404 store locations.

Pilot Flying J first started offering DEF at the pump in 2009. A full list of locations with DEF at the pump is available at www.pilotflyingj.com/.

DEF is a nontoxic solution used in vehicles with selective catalytic reduction systems to reduce levels of NOx emissions. Diesel engines purchased after Jan. 1, 2010, require the use of DEF in vehicles using SCR technology to reduce emissions and meet the Environmental Protection Agency 2010 tailpipe standards.

By October, all but seven locations within the Pilot Flying J network of more than 650 travel centers and travel plazas nationwide will offer DEF at the pump.

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Kinedyne announces winners of its MATS Sweepstakes

Five owner-operators, include a couple of OOIDA members, won a $1,000 Kinedyne shopping spree in a raffle held at the 2013 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville in March. 

Kinedyne -- a manufacturer of cargo securement products for 45 years – awarded the shopping sprees to Dennis Doyle, an owner-operator from Flemingsburg, KY; OOIDA Member Wayne Davidson, owner-operator from Lewisberg, OH; Lawrence Davis, doing business as Davis Express, an owner-operator from South Bend, IN; owner-operator J.D. Terry of Crossville, TN, and OOIDA Life Member Joe Westleigh, Woolwich, ME, owner-operator.

 

Penske opens new super facility in Phoenix

Penske Truck Leasing is introducing a new facility that will provide full-service truck leasing, consumer and commercial truck rental, and contract fleet maintenance services. Penske held a grand opening event in Phoenix, AZ, on Tuesday, May 21, at the new location.

The $6 million facility is a 24,000-square-foot structure situated on 10 acres. This new location features five truck service bays, an automated wash bay, and a three-lane commercial truck fuel island with bulk diesel exhaust fluid dispensation. The maintenance shop uses leading-edge wireless technology to enable Penske’s service technicians to automatically connect vehicles for service with diagnostic and analytic software. The location services trucks with engines that run on CNG or LNG.

 

Pilot Flying J breaks ground on new location in Odessa, TX

On Monday, May 13, Pilot Flying J announced it is breaking ground on a new Pilot Travel Center in Odessa, TX. The travel center will feature full amenities for area residents, professional drivers and the traveling public.

The Pilot Travel Center will be located off Interstate 20 at Exit 121 (Loop 338). Construction is expected to be completed by fall of 2013.

The new facility will feature many amenities including a McDonald’s; a Pilot Flying J deli; premium coffee and cappuccino selections; and much more. More details about the facility’s offerings will be announced closer to its opening.

Visit pilotflyingj.com for updates.

 

Bridgestone: New project could be breakthrough for rubber industry

By Land Line staff

This could be big. With the demand for tires expected to increase, Bridgestone Corp. has announced the Bridgestone Group’s plans for an extensive research project in the United States dedicated to developing guayule as a commercially viable, renewable source of high-quality natural rubber and as an alternative to the hevea tree, which is currently the primary source for tire rubber.

Guayule (pronounced why-u-lee) is a perennial shrub native to the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico. This plant produces natural rubber in its bark and roots. Natural rubber from guayule has almost identical qualities compared to natural rubber harvested from hevea trees.

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations is currently seeking land to establish the pilot farm and construct the rubber process research center in the southwestern U.S. The facility is expected to be fully operational in 2014. Trial rubber production should start in 2015.

 

Yokohama Tire to open truck tire plant in Mississippi

By Land Line staff

Yokohama Tire Corp. will build a commercial truck tire plant in West Point, MS, bringing 500 new jobs and producing 1 million tires starting in 2015, the company announced via press release on Monday.

The facility will have an initial capital investment of $300 million, and potential plant expansions could reach up to four times the original employment and investment levels. The factory will be the first that Yokohama has built in the United States.

The plant will be built on over 500 acres of land with construction expected to begin in September and completion two years later. Yokohama expects to hire approximately 500 employees to work at the facility.

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BK Trucking challenges Caterpillar over ACERT engines

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer

A New Jersey-based trucking company has filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Caterpillar, claiming its C13 and C15 engines sold from 2007 to 2011 were defective.

Between 2007 and 2010, BK Trucking Co. of Newfield, NJ, purchased 10 tractors with C13 or C15 Caterpillar Advanced Combustion Emission Reduction Technology (ACERT) diesel engines.

According to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey, BK Trucking alleges that problems with each of the tractors they purchased with this technology “began shortly after the vehicle was purchased, usually within 25,000 miles.” The company cites “numerous breakdowns of the engines, specifically the emissions and regeneration systems” usually every seven to eight weeks, which forced drivers to pull over and shut down.

BK Trucking complains that after a breakdown, the truck had to be towed to a Caterpillar-authorized repair facility, because the computer codes and software were proprietary and BK’s own mechanics or other truck repair facilities were not able to repair or service the ACERT system or the DPF.

BK Trucking also claims in the lawsuit that it has sustained economic losses stemming from the alleged problems with the C13 and C15 engines. The company states it sustained economic losses because of “multiple catastrophic engine failures and attempted repairs to the engine, and substantially lower resale values associated with the vehicles containing the engines because the problems with the engines are widely known and feared in the industry.”

The class that the plaintiff seeks to represent is defined as “all individuals in New Jersey who purchased, not for resale, trucks and other heavy duty vehicles containing defective emissions and regeneration systems in their model year 2007 through 2011 Caterpillar C13 and C15 ACERT diesel engines.”

A New Jersey-based trucking company has filed a lawsuit against Caterpillar, claiming its C13 and C15 engines were defective.

A similar challenge was filed in Texas in 2010 after a company there purchased buses with 90 C15 ACERT engines.

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TA Petro customers and employees donate to St. Christopher's Fund

Customers and employees of TravelCenters of America, operator of the TA and Petro Stopping Centers travel center brands, recently donated $2,811.26 to the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund, a nonprofit organization that provides direct assistance to professional truck drivers whose medical problems have led to financial hardship.

Professional drivers contributed nearly $2,375 at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March. The 2013 donations at MATS surpassed those in 2012 by nearly $400. Employees of TravelCenters also donated more than $435 to SCF during a corporate fundraising event that kicked off the professional baseball season.

“It’s been said that professional drivers are some of the most generous people on earth, and we see evidence year after year of the truth in that,” said Tom O’Brien, TravelCenters President and CEO. “When drivers learn that SCF helps other drivers in need, there is no hesitation in making a donation. We see this at both our industry shows and during our annual Band Together for SCF campaigns.”

TravelCenters has provided support to the SCF since 2010 through its annual ‘Band Together for SCF’ fundraising campaigns, and smaller collection efforts at tradeshows and employee events throughout the year. To date, TravelCenters has helped raise nearly $775,000 for the charity that provides financial support to professional drivers without other means to fund prescription medications, living expenses, and medical procedures.

“Once again, we thank the customers and employees of TA and Petro for all they do in helping us help drivers,” said Dr. Donna Kennedy, Executive Director of SCF. “All of these donations add up to allow us to provide a great deal of assistance.”

Kennedy said since the SCF began in 2007, the fund has helped more than 700 drivers with financial support.

 

Biz Buzz: Shell, TA announce plans to develop LNG fueling centers

By Land Line staff

Shell and TravelCenters of America LLC have finalized an agreement to develop a U.S. nationwide network of liquefied natural gas fueling centers for heavy-duty road transport customers.

The plan is to construct at least two LNG fueling lanes and a storage facility at up to 100 existing TA and Petro Stopping Center-branded full-service travel centers along the U.S. interstate highway system. Construction and opening of the LNG stations will be done in a phased approach. Within a year, the companies hope to develop the main trucking corridors to provide the potential for the first-ever coast-to-coast LNG-fueled commercial transport network.

“Shell is investing now in the infrastructure that will bring this innovative, cost-competitive and environmentally beneficial fuel to our customers,” said Elen Phillips, vice president of Shell Fuels Sales & Marketing Americas. “We are leveraging our strength as an integrated company to produce, liquefy, distribute and commercialize natural gas in transport. And TravelCenters of America is the ideal partner to help us bring this vision to life.” 

Demand for innovative fuels, like LNG, from commercial customers is growing due to the wide range of benefits for trucking fleet operators. These benefits can include lower fuel costs, as well as the potential to reduce emissions and reduce noise levels in certain engines.

The collaboration between Shell and TA was announced last year. Shell is also developing LNG stations at Flying J truck stops in Alberta, Canada – the first of which opened this year.

In March, Shell announced it will invest in two small-scale LNG production units that form the basis of two new LNG transport corridors in the Great Lakes and Gulf Coast regions, which will provide LNG to marine and heavy duty road customers. This brings the total to three planned Shell LNG production units dedicated to transport in North America.

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Pilot Flying J announces partnership with Urgent Care Travel

By Land Line staff

A partnership between Pilot Flying J and Urgent Care Travel could result in up to 100 urgent care sites at Pilot Flying J travel centers within the next three years, the companies announced on Wednesday, May 8.

Urgent Care Travel (UCT) opened its first urgent care location on May 1 at the Pilot Travel Center on Strawberry Plains Pike in Knoxville, Tenn. The opening of the Knoxville location marks the launch of the company’s plans with Pilot Flying J to open as many as 100 urgent care sites at select travel center and travel plaza locations nationwide.

The next site will open in Oklahoma City on June 5, 2013. UCT expects to open at least five more locations in 2013 with steady openings to follow, leading to the complete rollout of the first 100 sites by the end of 2016.

Bob Perry, founder of Rolling Strong, will function as the Chief Development Officer for UCT.  The release stated that the goal is to bring quality health and medical care to professional drivers on the road.

 

Great Dane recall of dry van trailers

Great Dane Trailers has put out a recall on nearly 700 of its dry van trailers from model year 2011.

The company says they may have faulty welds on the I-beam bogie frame that could result in hangers or axles coming off – potentially causing a crash.

For more information, call Great Dane customer service at 877-369-3493.

 

Pilot Flying J to offer DEF pumps at every store by fall '13

Pilot Flying J is planning to expand its Diesel Exhaust Fluid pump network to every diesel lane by fall 2013, according to a company release.

The truck stop chain currently offers 3,000 DEF fuel lanes at nearly 400 locations across the U.S. and four Canadian provinces, after investing $165 million to expand its network of DEF at the pump.

For more information on which locations offer DEF at the pump, click here.

 

Cummins and Peterbilt demonstrate 9.9 mpg Class 8 truck

By Land Line staff

Cummins and Peterbilt say real-world testing of their combined “SuperTruck” has netted 9.9 mpg, just a fraction shy of 10 mpg.

The companies released test results on Thursday, March 14, for the Peterbilt 587 powered by a Cummins ISX15 engine.

SAE International approved testing along a 312-mile route along U.S. 287 from Fort Worth and Vernon, TX. The test truck had a combined gross weight of 65,000 pounds.

Company leaders said the truck uses aerodynamics and technology to reduce drag and convert exhaust heat into power delivered to the crankshaft. The test truck also used route optimization, low-rolling-resistance tires and lighter weights throughout to achieve the result. An Eaton transmission uses “downspeeding” to further save on fuel, the companies said.

“Many of the technologies we are testing on the engine and truck will be integral parts of the trucks of tomorrow,” said David Koeberlein, principal investigator for the SuperTruck program at Cummins. “We are focused on developing innovations that meet and exceed the needs of our customers, while helping to create a cleaner, healthier and safer environment.”

Starting in 2010, the four-year SuperTruck program is made possible with $38.8 million in company investment. The companies are confident that the 2013 edition of the test will exceed what they’ve achieved to this point.

“Aerodynamics has been a significant contributor to the efficiency gains,” said Scott Newhouse, senior assistant chief engineer of product development at Peterbilt. “We are very pleased with what our team has been able to accomplish using a comprehensive tractor-trailer approach.”

Baseline trucks achieve 5 to 6 mpg, the companies said. Achieving 9.9 mpg amounts to savings of 54 percent in fuel and 35 percent in greenhouse gas emissions, officials said.

Reducing fuel consumption continues to drive many manufacturers and truckers in a game of “can you top this?”

Saving fuel, and money, doesn’t stop at aerodynamics and technology. It also includes the way a driver drives and how a truck is spec’d for a particular operation.

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Mack and Volvo pair up with Shell to boost natural gas for CMVs

By Land Line staff

In separate agreements with Shell, truck makers Mack and Volvo aim to boost the North American market for liquefied natural gas, or LNG, in commercial vehicles.

The agreements are non-exclusive but will help efforts to create infrastructure and share knowledge about fuel specs and emissions performance, the companies said Wednesday, March 27.

“Customer interest in natural gas as a heavy-duty truck fuel will only continue to grow,” said Göran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North American Sales & Marketing. “We plan to introduce our own Volvo LNG-fueled engine in 2014, and this agreement is part of our effort to collaborate with various stakeholders to ensure that the market is supported with the necessary infrastructure.”

Kevin Flaherty, president of North American sales and marketing for Mack Trucks, said the company has been at the forefront of the LNG market.

“Mack has had natural gas-powered vehicles in customer service since 2009, and we look forward to working with Shell and other fuel providers to further support the burgeoning natural gas truck market here in North America,” Flaherty said.

Mack recently delivered its first LNG version of the on-highway Pinnacle powered by the Cummins Westport ISX 12G.

Volvo will bring a proprietary 13-liter LNG engine to North America in May, the company said.

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Iconic 'Glass House' over I-44 gets $14.6 million facelift

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer

The arches that span Interstate 44 at the travel plaza in Vinita, OK, will still be there. But the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority announced this week it will spend $14.6 million to take the rest of the building that spans the width of the Will Rogers Turnpike down to its structural steel.

“We’ll take it down to the bridge structure and leave the arches as well, but everything else will be brand-new,” OTA spokesman Jack Damrill said. “It really hasn’t received a total renovation since it was built in 1957. Small ones have occurred. The last significant one was in 1987, and it just added some coats of paint. It’s never really been rebuilt since it was built in ’57. Unfortunately, age has caught up with it.”

The site was originally opened as a pancake house operated by the Howard Johnson hotel chain. Its current occupant, a McDonalds franchise, has been there since at least the mid-1980s.

The destination is the first place many westbound travelers stop upon entering Oklahoma, and Damrill said the state’s goal is to make the location more attractive to visitors.

“Early on, there were a few schools that held dances out there, and proms,” he said. “It was a destination point. We have it set up to hold gatherings and events in the new facility. It was really used as a big-time destination point for people to gather and eat and have civic functions out there.”

The OTA also hopes to upgrade the facility by adding an additional dining option. New fueling stations for both eastbound and westbound traffic will offer diesel for the first time. The building will also be equipped with new insulated windows and a new HVAC system.

Damrill said the renovations will also address the most common complaint from visitors. Lack of restrooms.

“Lack of restroom facilities is probably the number-one complaint we get,” he said. “There’s not very many upstairs and with the amount of traffic, that’s always our biggest complaint. We’ll be adding a significant amount of restrooms in the new facility.”

Plans also call for ground-floor restrooms.

Timberlake Construction of Oklahoma City was awarded the bid. Damrill estimates the facility will be closed for one year while the renovations take place. During that time, portions of I-44 will also be shut down.

“We will have to close down two lanes at a time as they tear down and build back the structure,” he said. “Because this is over the road, it’s not an easy demolition. They’ll tear half down. Then shift to the other side. We will have head-to-head traffic just in this portion of the area. We just don’t know how difficult the teardown will be once we get in there.”

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Meritor FueLite axle wins top tech award

The Truck Writers of North America have recognized the Meritor FueLite 6x2 axle with Meritor WABCO Electronically Controlled Air Suspension (ECAS) as the top technical achievement for 2012. 

To be eligible for the Technical Achievement Award, a product or service has to clearly exhibit technical innovation, have a wide applicability in the trucking industry, offer significant benefits, and be widely available. While complete vehicles are not eligible, components and systems are.

The six finalists for 2012 were as follows: The Aerofficient Slider trailer fairing; the Alutrec Capacity flatbed with monocoque design; Dana’s Spicer Diamond Series Driveshaft; Jacobs Vehicle Systems’ HPD (High Power Density) engine brake; Meritor’s FueLite axle with Meritor WABCO ECAS; and Thermo King’s Precedent trailer refrigeration platform.

Ranking at the top among the finalists, the Meritor FueLite 6x2 tandem axle with Meritor WABCO ECAS earned the top honor of the 2012 TWNA Technical Achievement Award. The Meritor FueLite axle delivers nearly 400 pounds in weight savings, potentially providing a 2 percent increase in fuel efficiency compared with traditional 6x4 axle configurations. Meritor WABCO ECAS features the electronics that seamlessly and automatically shift weight to the powered axle in low-traction situations, addressing concerns about lack of traction in slippery conditions.

Founded in 1988, TWNA is a professional organization whose membership is composed of writers, editors, public relations specialists, marketing personnel and others involved in the business of creating or producing information related to the world of trucking.

The Technical Achievement Award winner was selected by committee members Paul Abelson (Road King and Land Line magazines), John Baxter (freelance journalist), Tom Berg (Heavy Duty Trucking and Construction Equipment magazines), Peter Carter (Today’s Trucking), Paul Hartley (AddMedia), James Menzies (Truck News and Truck West), and Jim Park (Heavy Duty Trucking).

 

Shell to bring two LNG plants online by 2016

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer

Shell will build two plants dedicated to supplying liquefied natural gas for heavy truck and transport shipping use. 

Shell, one of the largest gas producers in the U.S., will build the facilities in Geismar, LA, along the Mississippi River south of Baton Rouge, and in Sarnia, Ontario, on the southern shore of Lake Huron just east of Michigan. 

The company says each plant will be able to produce 250,000 tons per year of LNG, roughly 400,000 gallons per day, according to spokeswoman Destin Singleton. 

From our perspective, it’s important that there is production specific for transport, and that it’s dedicated production,” she told Land Line. “Pending regulatory approvals, they will be producing in about three years. In the meantime LNG could be supplied to our customers from third-party agreements.”

Because the plants are being developed at existing manufacturing sites, Singleton said environmental impact studies were not required.

Natural gas is used as a transportation fuel in some parts of the world, mostly for fleets of vehicles like buses and garbage trucks which use centralized refueling stations. Compressed natural gas is more widely used than LNG, but LNG has proved to be effective for very large trucks that drive great distances. 

The process of making LNG involves chilling natural gas to negative 260 degrees so it can be compressed into a liquid and stored in high-pressure insulated tanks. The liquefied form of the fuel can then be loaded onto tankers for transport, where it is shipped to a local processing plant, thawed out to return to its naturally gaseous state, and injected into the local supply.

The facilities are expected to take about three years to complete. Singleton said the company does not disclose the cost of its capital expenditures.

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Utility introduces new side skirt

Utility Trailer Manufacturing – maker of refrigerated trailers, dry freight vans, flatbeds and Tautliner curtain-sided trailers – is introducing a new side skirt and will be showing it off at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville March 21-23.

The new design is EPA SmartWay-verified to achieve greater than 5 percent fuel savings. It can be used in combination with low-rolling-resistance tires on Utility trailers to achieve California Air Resources Board compliance for California operations.

The USS-120A-4’s galvanized high-tensile steel bracing system, which allows the side skirt to flex both inward and outward, can also be bent back to its original shape if damaged. The side skirt is manufactured with a UV-protected bidirectional FRP construction. 

The side skirt has a five-year warranty and is available as a factory or dealer installation option for new Utility trailers. Retrofitting for existing trailers is available through Utility’s aftermarket department. For more info, visit utilitytrailer.com.

 

Lisa Kelly will show off Worldtrucker smartphone app at MATS

Celebrity truck driver Lisa Kelly of the TV series “Ice Road Truckers” and “IRT: Deadliest Roads” is the new global ambassador for a global online community called Worldtrucker. Kelly and Worldtrucker will reveal the online community’s new smartphone app and website in the Volvo Trucks booth at the 2013 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY. 

The public reveal of the new Worldtrucker smartphone app and website is scheduled for 11 a.m. Eastern on Saturday, March 23, and will take place at booth No. 32125. Show attendees can meet Kelly, who will be in the Worldtrucker lounge at the Volvo Trucks booth and available for photos and autographs.

“The new Worldtrucker app and website allows truckers to connect with other truckers all over the world and share their stories and passion for life on the road,” Kelly said in a recent press statement. Kelly, who is an active member of the Worldtrucker community, said the Worldtrucker app is designed for truckers, by truckers.

Members of the global online community can keep in touch with their friends and family and can also share photos from the road by uploading directly through their mobile phone. 

“I like keeping in touch with the trucking community. There are a lot of things that keep truck drivers united, and that’s what’s cool about the Worldtrucker concept,” said Kelly. 

Worldtrucker is powered by Volvo Trucks. While Volvo claims it wants to make Worldtrucker the largest and most active truck driver community in the world,  the truck manufactuer keeps a low profile encouraging truckers to “drive the content.”

Initially launched in 2011, the online community now has more than 21,600 members representing more than 100 countries. Worldtrucker is available in 18 languages and its members have uploaded more than 120,000 photos of trucks and life on the road.  

Worldtrucker welcomes all truckers regardless of what truck brand they drive or prefer.  

 

Kenworth T680 named Class 8 truck of the year by ATD

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor

The judges have spoken, and the American Truck Dealers have named the Kenworth T680 the Class 8 truck of the year.

Kenworth rolled out the T680 with 76-inch sleeper during the 2012 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY, calling it the most aerodynamic and fuel-efficient truck in its fleet to date.

Photo by Suzanne Stempinski

Kenworth T680 at MATS 2012

A five-member panel of judges recognized the effort during the National Automobile Dealers Association and American Truck Dealers conventions Feb. 8-11 in Orange County, FL.

The panel gave the T680 the nod over the Freightliner Cascadia Evolution with Detroit DT12 transmission, Peterbilt model 579 and Western Star 4700SF.

Judges’ notes highlighted comfort and drivability, the pulling power of the Paccar MX Engine, easy shifting from a 10-speed manual transmission, and well set-up gauges and controls.

“I think the reason we produced this award-winning truck is due to the efforts of the last four years during which we found customers were looking for significant fuel savings, high visibility, high-tech equipment and enjoyment,” said Gary Moore, general manager of Kenworth and Paccar vice president. “Our customers are looking for a complete home, office and work package.”

The American Truck Dealers awarded the medium-duty Class 3-7 title to the Hino 195th.

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Shorepower Technologies announces free power through March 31

Shorepower Technologies, which offers truck stop electrification, extended its offer to truckers to continue using the company’s power pedestals free of charge through March 31.

Since October 2012, Shorepower Technologies has seen an 85 percent increase in the number of truck stops adding electric plug-in power pedestals and an increase of 314 percent in the number of electrified spaces in 2012 overall, the company stated in a press release.

As of December, 50 locations have installed Shorepower Technologies’ power pedestals, totaling 1,450 electrified parking spaces. Some of those locations have cable TV available through the pedestal and 20 provide 480-volt power for hybrid refrigerated trailers, the release says.

Funding for 40 of the locations was funded by the Department of Energy’s Shorepower Truck Electrification Project (STEP) which is administered through Cascade Sierra Solutions, a non-profit organization based in Eugene, OR. The rest were installed with private funds. 

Since 2010, STEP has resulted in over a 200 percent increase in the number of truck stops adding power pedestals. To find truck stops with power pedestals, check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s truckstop electrification locator.

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Snap Fitness Rolling Strong opens gym in Tennessee Pilot Travel Center

The newest Snap Fitness Rolling Strong gym recently opened at the Pilot Travel Center in Lebanon, TN.

The gym features professional fitness staff, including instructors and trainers. Fitness equipment includes treadmills, elliptical, leg machines, chest machines, dumbbells, a bench press and more, a press release from Snap Fitness says.

The Lebanon location is at 921 Murfreesboro Road, just off Interstate 40.

Membership for the trucking community runs $19.95 per month and includes access to Snap Fitness Rolling Strong gyms and any of the other 1,300 Snap Fitness club locations. Family memberships are also available, the release states.

Snap Fitness is a franchise of compact, state-of-the-art fitness centers that provide members a fast, convenient workout alternative to health clubs.

Rolling Strong is a driver wellness program delivered to drivers on the road. Its mission is to educate drivers and share products and services to help them on the road. 

 

Michelin expanding operations

On Jan.24, Michelin announced a $200 million expansion to its Starr, SC, manufacturing plant. The expansion will allow the company to increase output of rubber compound material used to build tires.

More than 100 new jobs are expected to be created. Operations are expected to begin in 2014 and will supply material for tire production in North America.

 

QualaWash expands with recent acquisitions

On Jan. 16 , QualaWash Holdings LLC announced the acquisition of Shreveport Tank Wash in Shreveport, LA, and Tank Wash Specialists in Neenah, WI. Both purchases were finalized in the fourth quarter of 2012. 

QualaWash plans to enhance and expand services while increasing its focus on safety, environment and service.

QualaWash Holdings LLC is an independently owned provider of commercial cleaning and maintenance services to the portable bulk container industry.

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Meritor manufacturer Fras-le expands U.S. operations

Fras-le, manufacturer and supplier of friction materials for Meritor Inc., announced Jan. 22 that it began production of heavy-duty brake linings at its facility in Prattville, AL, earlier in the month.

This is the first time Fras-le has produced heavy-duty brake linings in the United States. Previously, the company manufactured only disc brake pads at the Prattville location.

Fras-le invested $11 million to expand its operations for the North American commercial vehicle market. In addition to new equipment, the expansion added nearly 100 new employees.

Meritor’s aftermarket group is the exclusive North American distributor for Fras-le’s heavy-duty brake linings for new and remanufactured brake shoes. Fras-le and Meritor have partnered for 16 years in developing and supplying friction materials for North American commercial vehicles.

 

Betts and Life-Time Fenders will operate as BettsHD

Betts Co. announced on Jan. 22 that BettsHD is the company’s new operating division for spray suppression and fender products.

BettsHD combines the resources of Betts spray suspension and Life-Time Fenders into one source for safety-related products for heavy-duty tractor trailers. The products will be branded as BettsHD.

Operations will continue from facilities in California and Ohio. Betts has two other divisions, Betts Spring Manufacturing and Betts Truck Parts and Service.

 

Kenworth, Paccar Financial offer extended warranty program

Kenworth Truck Co. and Paccar Financial announced an extended warranty program on Jan. 23. The program is for U.S. customers who purchase new Kenworth Class 8 trucks financed through Paccar Financial.

Customers can receive a three-year/300,000-mile basic vehicle extended warranty. The warranty is an additional two years and 200,000 miles of coverage valued at $3,200, Kenworth stated in a press release.

The offer applies to trucks ordered between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2013, and must be financed through Paccar Financial no later than March 31, 2014. Customers can take advantage of this offer for up to 20 trucks.

 

Still time to apply for a C.H. Robinson scholarship

The C.H. Robinson Foundation is accepting applications for its Truckload Contract Carrier Scholarship Program through Feb. 15, 2013.

C.H. Robinson is offering 10 scholarships to full-time employees of truckload contract carriers and their children who plan to continue their education at an accredited college or vocational school. Each scholarship holds an award value up to $2,500 for tuition for the 2013–2014 academic year.

All applicants must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Full-time employees of truckload contract carriers who have a minimum of one year of employment with the company as of the application deadline date.
  • Dependent children of qualified employees of qualified truckload contract carriers of C.H. Robinson. That means biological children, stepchildren or adopted children living in the employee’s household or primarily supported by the employee.
  • Employees of qualified truckload contract carriers must have a minimum of one year of employment with their respective company as of the application deadline date.
  • Dependent children of carriers must enroll in transportation logistics, supply chain or business related programs.

To view the full scholarship program guidelines and to apply, please visit http://sms.scholarshipamerica.org/chrobinson-carrier/.

The applications must be postmarked by Feb. 15, 2013.

 

Comdata amps up services for Canadian users

Comdata Corp. has been serving truckers in Canada for more than 15 years but this week, the company announced new features for Comdata users in Canada that are similar to those widely used throughout the United States today.

All the different types of expenses now can be charged to one single card instead of multiple cards. Bills and settlements are also in Canadian dollars now and Comdata can also manage the date for Canada tax reporting.

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Bosselman Boss Shops aquires locations in Maryland, Virigina

Bosselman Boss Truck Shops Inc. has announced the acquisition of two Patriot Truck Care/HSV locations.

They are located in Elkton, MD, at I-95 Exit 109A; and Ruther Glen, VA, at I-95 Exit 104.  Both are adjacent to a Flying J Travel Plaza, and will be part of the Uni-Maxx Truck Care network. 

Adding these two locations to the Boss Shop lineup creates a total of 41 Boss Shops in 23 states.

Boss Shops offer tires, quick lube oil changes, preventive maintenance, brake, electrical, drive train, air conditioning and other repairs, as well as roadside service.  Boss Shops carry high-quality tire lines, including Michelin, BF Goodrich, Bridgestone, Goodyear and DynaTrac. They offer a wide variety of accessories for the industry, such as cargo control and chrome items.

Drivers can also enroll in the MaxxCareRewards program, a card-based program that rewards points based on purchases in any Uni-Maxx Truck Care network shop.  Boss Shops service large nationwide fleets as well as regional and local fleets.

For a complete list of all Boss Shops locations, visit bosstruckshops.com.

More information about MaxxCare Rewards is available at any Boss Shop or Wingfoot Truck Care Center.  Visit unimaxxtruckcare.com to learn more.

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TransCore DAT partners with Truckers Against Trafficking

Know a driver who deserves some recognition? Nominate him or her for the DAT.com Driver of the Month and for every nomination submitted, Truckers Against Trafficking will receive a $10 donation from DAT.

To nominate a driver, leave a comment on DAT.com’s Facebook post telling them who you would like to nominate and why. A winner will be selected on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. In addition to being named DAT’s December Driver of the Month, the winner will also receive a $100 gift card.

Truckers Against Trafficking is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to ending human trafficking with the help of professional truck drivers. For more information, visit truckersagainsttrafficking.org.

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Pilot Flying J donates $100,000 to Wreaths Across America

In early December, hundreds of thousands of wreaths were placed on the tombstones and memorials of the nation’s fallen heroes thanks to Wreaths Across America. With the help of professional drivers and customers across the nation, Pilot Flying J was able to contribute $100,000 to the WAA campaign to honor the men and women who gave their lives to defend our country.

In October, the company announced its “Cup with a Cause” campaign, which donated $3 from every $4.99, limited-edition travel mug. In December, Pilot Flying J donated $100,000 to WAA to assist the nonprofit organization in coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and nearly 800 additional veteran cemeteries and memorials across the country and overseas.

WAA started in 1992 and has grown to include more volunteers, more locations and more wreaths. This December, a total of more than 420,000 wreaths were placed to honor U.S. veterans, including 110,662 wreaths placed on headstones at Arlington National Cemetery.

“Cup with a Cause” mugs are still available for purchase. As a token of appreciation for customers who support the “Cup with a Cause” campaign, each travel mug includes a coupon for a free refill. Customers can redeem the coupon for any premium coffee or cappuccino selection.

For more information about Wreaths Across America, visit WreathsAcrossAmerica.org. To find a Pilot Flying J location nearest you to purchase a “Cup with a Cause” mug, visit pilotflyingj.com or download the Pilot Flying J app to your smartphone.

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Mack contributes $25,000 to NYC disaster relief

Mack Trucks recently presented a $25,000 check to New York City Commissioner of Sanitation John J. Doherty to support relief efforts following Hurricane Sandy. The donation will go to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to community and economic improvement, and will be used to meet immediate needs for food, water and supplies, as well as long-term relief and restoration projects.

“New York City has long been an important refuse and heavy-duty truck customer for Mack Trucks,” said Kevin Flaherty, president of Mack Trucks North American Sales and Marketing. “We value our relationship with New York, and we want to assist them as they deal with enormous demand for public services in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.”

Mack’s relationship with New York City stretches back more than 100 years to 1900 when the Mack brothers incorporated the company and began manufacturing their first heavy-duty vehicle, a 20-passenger touring bus aptly named the “Manhattan,” in a Brooklyn factory.

New York City was a customer of Mack Trucks as early as 1911, and the New York Departments of Sanitation and Transportation together have more than 6,000 Mack vehicles currently in service.

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Volvo makes $100,000 donation to hurricane relief efforts

The Volvo Group says it’s donating $100,000 to help with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

Half the money will go to the Red Cross. The other half will be split between relief funds in New York City and Allentown, PA.

The New York City donation will be used for food, water and supplies and to support long-term relief and restoration projects. Allentown will use the funds to replace the severely damaged roof of a fire station.

A Volvo official says that while the headlines are tapering off, the hard work of recovery continues.

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Navistar announces S-Cam tube bracket recall on six International models

Navistar Inc., headquartered in Lisle, IL, is recalling the brake S-cam tube bracket assemblies on some of its newer model International tractors, citing possible brake assembly fractures that could result in an increased risk of a vehicle crash.

Navistar notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Nov. 21 that as many as 6,779 International tractors may be included in the recall, including six newer models of the International 9900, the LoneStar, the PayStar, the ProStar, the TranStar and the WorkStar, manufactured from Aug. 1, 2011 through July 31, 2012. The recall is on the brake S-Cam tube bracket assemblies on the steer axles, which may fracture and could cause the vehicle to pull to one side unexpectedly or cause an increase in the stopping distance. The affected tractors will have front brake linings listed as feature codes 0504501 or 0504504.

The recall is expected to begin by Jan. 21, 2013. Navistar plans to notify owners, and dealers will replace S-Cam tube bracket assemblies free of charge. Those with questions are urged to call Navistar at 800-448-7825 or NHTSA at 888-327-4236.

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Rush Enterprises acquires MVI Group

Rush Enterprises has picked up several dealerships in Ohio in a recent $107 million deal with MVI Group.

Rush announced Jan. 2 that its subsidiaries have acquired some assets of MVI Group, which operates commercial truck and bus dealerships in Ohio. The dealerships include Miami Valley International, Center City International, CCI North Coast and Buckeye Truck Centers. International, IC Bus, Isuzu and Idealease franchises in seven cities are included in the acquisition.

The newly acquired locations will operate as part of the company’s Navistar Division and bring the company’s total truck centers to 78 locations in 15 states. The capabilities of Rush Truck Leasing and Rush Bus Centers will be expanded as a result.

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Celadon has big plans for driver trainees

Indianapolis-based truckload carrier Celadon Group Inc. plans to build a new, $5.25 million driver training center and add 182 new employees to its work force. The 60,000-square-foot training center will include a dormitory for driver trainees.

Celadon is asking the city for about $200,000 in tax breaks on the project.

 

IdleAir adds new entertainment package

IdleAir, a truck stop electrification service provider, has added a new entertainment package that includes more than 60 channels of satellite TV, including the ESPN package. It also offers 120V electricity inside and outside the cab, and basic Internet access on the IdleAir touchscreen.

The new ConvoyTV+Power package will be offered for free at select locations nationwide through Jan. 15, 2013. Then beginning Jan. 16, 2013, it will be offered at a flat $1.49 per hour (plus tax), and available through IdleAir member cards at select locations through April 30, 2013.

 

Trimble acquires ALK Technologies

Trimble Navigation announced Jan. 3 that it has acquired ALK Technologies Inc., developer of routing, mapping, mileage and navigation technologies.

ALK’s addition is expected to extend and complement Trimble’s Transportation and Logistics Division portfolio. Trimble T&L products include TMW Systems’ transportation management solutions, PeopleNet’s integrated onboard computing and mobile communications systems and GEOTrac’s fleet management and worker safety solutions for the oil and gas industry.

ALK’s product line includes CoPilot Live, a GPS navigation system for professional drivers; and PC*Miler, a truck-specific mileage tool.

ALK Technologies will be part of Trimble’s Mobile Solutions group. Trimble is best known for providing GPS receivers and laser rangefinders in the construction, surveying and agriculture fields.

A Trimble official says ALK will keep its present leadership team.

 

Limited number of 2013 Peterbilt calendars now available

The 2013 Peterbilt calendar is now available for purchase and the company is saying “heads up,” the quantities are limited and sale of the calendars may not extend beyond January.

Peterbilt’s calendar is available in two formats. The oversized wall calendar features six beautiful truck images with two months per truck image. The spiral bound appointment calendar featuring 12 unique truck images.

Appointment calendars feature 12 monthly photos, measure 12-7/8 x 9-3/4 inches and cost $10.95. Wall calendars feature six two-month pages, measure 28 x 26 inches and cost $15.95. Prices do not include shipping and handling.  

The calendars can be purchased through Peterbilt dealers. Check out the network of dealerships at peterbilt.com.

 

Western Star's limited edition 2013 calendar is here

The engineering-inspired “Tough by Design” calendar features Western Star trucks across various applications, from logging and mining to on-highway and heavy-haul. Renowned artist Jeff Foster returns for the third year to illustrate the specialization of each truck with blueprint-style drawings that complement original truck photography by Paul Hartley.

Presented in a horizontal 18-inch by 27-inch format, the “Tough by Design” calendar is available to order through the Western Star website at westernstar.com or at a Western Star dealer.

 

Freightliner Trucks 2013 calendar, with a new twist

The Freightliner 2013calendar is now available to order. In addition to highlighting on-highway and vocational truck models in unique settings and applications, the 2013 Freightliner Trucks calendar includes a new interactive component.

Starting in January, participants can log onto FindThisFreightliner.com and guess where the picture was taken. The first 25 people to identify correctly the location every month will win Freightliner merchandise.

Visit costore.com/freightliner to order the 2013 Freightliner Trucks calendar for $15.

 

New improved Petro to open in Gary, Indiana

The Petro Stopping Centers at I-80/I-94, exit 9, in Gary, IN, has been razed, and a new facility is scheduled to open in the first half of 2013. A groundbreaking ceremony took place Nov. 20.

The current fuel islands remain open.

The new 28.6-acre Petro will offer 340 truck parking spaces, a six-bay Petro:Lube service facility, and 15 diesel lanes with DEF at the pump.

The facility will include an Iron Skillet restaurant; a combination Taco Bell/Pizza Hut fast food restaurant; and a travel store complete with beverages and to-go meal options, including better-for-you snack choices.

Other amenities include 15 showers, a StayFit fitness room, laundry facilities, a Verizon UltraMobile store, and movie and TV rooms.

 

U.S. Xpress to expand Mexican 'footprint'

U.S. Xpress Enterprises Inc. has announced that it will significantly expand its presence and range of U.S./Mexican cross-border services through two key deals. Mexican expansion comes on the heels of U.S. Xpress’s recently-announced cross-border partnership with Canadian carrier Maritime-Ontario.

U.S. Xpress will purchase a 90 percent interest in Xpress Internacional. The deal marks an expansion of the joint venture originally created by the two companies five years ago.
The company has also formed a joint venture with Monterrey-based Logisti-K, a leading provider of cross-border and Mexican logistics services in operation since 2002. The deal will allow U.S. Xpress to expand its range of services in Mexico to include warehousing and distribution, as well as freight forwarding services via full truckload, less-than-truckload, intermodal, ocean and air.

“The majority purchase of Xpress Internacional confirms our commitment to cross-border truckload transportation,” said Brian Quinn, vice president and general manager of international services at U.S. Xpress, “and our investment in Logisti-K opens new capabilities to provide those solutions.”

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International rolls first ProStar with Cummins engine off line

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer

The first International ProStar Plus with Cummins ISX 15 engine has rolled off the production line – both a real and symbolic sign of a new era for Navistar International Corp.
 
The new ProStar Plus, built at a company plant in Escobedo, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, features selective catalytic reduction exhaust after-treatment systems. Navistar says it has already received orders for 1,000 new ProStar Plus trucks.
 
Navistar’s change from exhaust treatment by Exhaust Gas Recirculation to SCR was announced in August.
 
“This is a great accomplishment for Navistar and an important milestone as we bring our first SCR-based Class 8 trucks to the marketplace,” said Troy Clarke, Navistar president and COO, according to a company news release. “The entire launch team and hundreds of others working behind the scenes are committed to a high-quality launch, and this achievement is another proof point in our progress.”
 
The company moved into a new headquarters in Lisle, IL, last winter. This summer, amid rumors of bankruptcy, Navistar announced it had secured a $1 billion line of credit from a group of large banks, including J.P. Morgan.

In August, Navistar parted ways with former CEO Daniel Ustian, who had championed the company’s use of EGR while all rival truck manufacturers had used SCR for 2010 model year and newer trucks.
 
Last month, Navistar made 10.6 million shares of public stock available to raise cash – only two months after the company secured the $1 billion line of credit.
 
By March, Navistar expects to enter pilot production for International ProStar Plus trucks with the company’s MaxxForce 13 engines and a Cummins SCR-based after-treatment system. Regular production could begin by April. Other truck models will follow.
 
For more reporting on Navistar, click here.
 

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2013 Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar now available

Shell announced this week that through Nov. 30, truckers can get the 2013 Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar at no cost with an oil change. After that, it can ordered from the website, which has a complete list of locations offering the calendar.

The 2013 Shell Rotella SuperRigs Calendar captures 12 of the hard-working trucks that participated in the SuperRigs contest earlier this year and the stories of their drivers.

The 30th Anniversary Shell Rotella SuperRigs was one of the most memorable ever as truckers from all across North America converged on Joplin, MO, in May. The truck contest was the signature event for “All Roads Lead to Joplin” – a group developed to raise funds to benefit the YMCA of Joplin’s community disaster recovery efforts following a devastating tornado in May 2011. 

While supplies last, the calendar is free with a purchase of 10-gallon (minimum) oil change of Shell Rotella T Triple Protection, Shell Rotella T5 Semi Synthetic Technology, or Shell Rotella T6 Full Synthetic. 

The 2000 Kenworth W900L of Ron Saris from Leamington, Ontario is the cover photo and month of December photo for the 2013 Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar.  The picture was taken at the Route 66 Drive-In in Carthage, MO.

The Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar provides monthly offers from the MyMilesMatter loyalty program beginning in January 2013.  The calendar will be available for purchase from www.Rotella.com beginning on Dec. 1, 2012.

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Wall Street Journal picks TrailerTails for award

ATDynamics announced this week that the company has been awarded the 2012 Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Award in the transportation category for its patented TrailerTail line of rear-drag aerodynamic technologies.

The TrailerTail is a lightweight, thermoplastic composite fairing installed at the back of a tractor-trailer to streamline airflow behind the trailer, reducing drag and fuel consumption. Using an origami folding design, TrailerTails collapse automatically out of the way when a driver opens the rear doors of a semi-trailer to access cargo.

ATDynamics was selected from among 536 applications originating from more than two dozen countries. 

According to the press release, to date 12,000 TrailerTails circulating on U.S. highways have logged more than 300 million miles. The company claims a savings of more than 2 million gallons of diesel fuel.

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Evans Cooling test shows better mpg, lower emissions

Evans Cooling Systems Inc., manufacturer of a waterless engine coolant, recently released testing results that showed improved fuel economy and reduced exhaust emissions.

The tests were the result of a study with the Department of Sanitation in New York City and emissions testing firm Emisstar LLC. Fuel economy, emissions, and temperature performance of the Evans waterless heavy-duty coolant were performed on a Mack MP7 diesel refuse collection truck owned by the DSNY.

According to Evans, two test cycles in March 2012 found an improvement of 4.4 and 6.1 percent in fuel economy and a CO2 emissions reduction of 4.3 and 5.6 percent. The company’s press release reported there was no sign of negative impact to oil and transmission fluid temperatures.

Evans Heavy Duty Coolant has a boiling point of 375 degrees Fahrenheit, which is higher than water-based coolants. Evans says this allows the engine to operate at slightly higher temperatures, thus raising the fan-on temperature to 230 degrees. The result is reduced fan-on time and fuel consumption.

 

Wreaths Across America gets support from Pilot Flying J

Pilot Flying J has announced it is trying to raise $100,000 for Wreaths Across America – the nonprofit group that places wreaths on the graves of thousands of military veterans each year.

The Knoxville, TN-based mega truck stop chain hopes to raise the money by selling special-edition mugs of coffee to truckers. For $4.99, drivers can purchase a special limited-edition travel mug from any Pilot Travel Center or Flying J Travel Plaza across the U.S. 

With every mug purchase, $3 will be donated to Wreaths Across America. They’re calling it the “Cup for a Cause” campaign.  

 

Nine commercial trucks nominated for Truck of the Year in 2013

The American Truck Dealers has announced the nine nominees for the 2013 ATD Commercial Truck of the Year, a national award recognizing the top truck entries in the heavy- and medium-duty categories.

The heavy-duty (Class 8) truck nominees are Freightliner Cascadia Evolution (equipped with Detroit DT12 transmission), Kenworth T680 76-inch sleeper with Paccar MX Engine, Peterbilt model 579 and Western Star 4700SF.

The medium-duty (Class 3-7) nominees are Ford F-650, Hino 195h, Isuzu Reach, Kenworth K370 cabover and Peterbilt 337 extended day cab.

The annual award, which will be presented Sunday, Feb. 10, during the 2013 ATD Convention and Expo in Orlando, FL, recognizes a winner in both the heavy- and medium-duty truck categories. The ATD convention will once again run concurrently with the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention and Expo in Orlando from Feb. 8-11.

To determine the winners, a five-member panel of journalists will test drive and evaluate the trucks at ADESA Las Vegas on Oct. 5. The judges are Tom Berg, chief judge, Heavy Duty Trucking; Paul Hartley, writer and owner of AddMedia; David Kolman, Fleet Maintenance Magazine; Jim Park, Heavy Duty Trucking; and Jack Roberts, Commercial Carrier Journal. The judging categories include innovation and design, safety and driver satisfaction.

 

Wreaths Across America gets support from Pilot Flying J

Pilot Flying J has announced it is trying to raise $100,000 for Wreaths Across America – the nonprofit group that places wreaths on the graves of thousands of military veterans each year.

The Knoxville, TN-based mega truck stop chain hopes to raise the money by selling special-edition mugs of coffee to truckers. For $4.99, drivers can purchase a special limited-edition travel mug from any Pilot Travel Center or Flying J Travel Plaza across the U.S. 

With every mug purchase, $3 will be donated to Wreaths Across America. They’re calling it the “Cup for a Cause” campaign.  

 

Nine commercial trucks nominated for Truck of the Year in 2013

The American Truck Dealers has announced the nine nominees for the 2013 ATD Commercial Truck of the Year, a national award recognizing the top truck entries in the heavy- and medium-duty categories.

The heavy-duty (Class 8) truck nominees are Freightliner Cascadia Evolution (equipped with Detroit DT12 transmission), Kenworth T680 76-inch sleeper with Paccar MX Engine, Peterbilt model 579 and Western Star 4700SF.

The medium-duty (Class 3-7) nominees are Ford F-650, Hino 195h, Isuzu Reach, Kenworth K370 cabover and Peterbilt 337 extended day cab.

The annual award, which will be presented Sunday, Feb. 10, during the 2013 ATD Convention and Expo in Orlando, FL, recognizes a winner in both the heavy- and medium-duty truck categories. The ATD convention will once again run concurrently with the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention and Expo in Orlando from Feb. 8-11.

To determine the winners, a five-member panel of journalists will test drive and evaluate the trucks at ADESA Las Vegas on Oct. 5. The judges are Tom Berg, chief judge, Heavy Duty Trucking; Paul Hartley, writer and owner of AddMedia; David Kolman, Fleet Maintenance Magazine; Jim Park, Heavy Duty Trucking; and Jack Roberts, Commercial Carrier Journal. The judging categories include innovation and design, safety and driver satisfaction.

 

Goodyear unveils new commercial tire inflation technology

Researchers at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company have been working on a new Air Maintenance Technology application that they say can improve fuel savings and carbon dioxide reductions while potentially improving performance and eliminating the need for external inflation pressure intervention.

The commercial application of Goodyear’s Air Maintenance Technology made its debut at the 2012 Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA) Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover, Germany, on Sept. 19. 

Goodyear’s Air Maintenance Technology mechanism allows tires to maintain constant, optimum pressure without the use of external pumps, electronics and driver intervention.

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Navistar to upgrade 2,300 mine-resistant vehicles for troops in Afghanistan

Navistar Defense received a delivery order this week for up to $282 million to provide more than 2,300 survivability upgrade retrofit kits for International MaxxPro Dash Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or MRAPs for short. The order from the U.S. Army will upgrade MaxxPro Dash vehicles with additional protection in response to evolving threats in Afghanistan.

Navistar has delivered nearly 9,000 MaxxPro units in nine major variants to the United States and its allies. This order follows the company’s MaxxPro rolling chassis body swap, which upgrades more than 2,700 MaxxPro vehicles with a DXM independent suspension, MaxxForce 9.3 engine, 570 amp alternator and driveline.

Work for the survivability upgrade will be done in Afghanistan beginning in December 2012. The order is scheduled to be completed by July 2013. The order also includes parts and service.

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Magellan and AAA team together for faster breakdown service

A new venture between GPS manufacturer Magellan and AAA is designed to get assistance to drivers quicker in the event of a breakdown.

The companies have extended their ongoing partnership, combining AAA’s travel services with Magellan’s RoadMate series GPS devices. In addition, they announced a “new integration” on Sept. 18 that unites the Magellan RoadMate Commercial 5190T GPS – featuring trucking-specific applications – and AAA’s D/2000 roadside assistance dispatch system.

With Magellan’s 5190T, drivers can accurately pinpoint their location and pass that information on to a AAA/CAA operator. Service can then be dispatched and arrive faster, getting the driver back on the road quicker.

 

EPA and CARB give Thermo King the nod on new reefer units

Thermo King is the first transport refrigeration manufacturer to receive Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board certification for 2013 model year engines greater than 25 horsepower. It has done so without the use of a diesel particulate filter.

The regulations require an engine to be 37 percent cleaner for particulate matter and 90 percent cleaner for nitrogen oxides as compared with the previous interim Tier IV standard.

“Customers can now keep their transport refrigeration units longer than seven years. And if they do decide to sell, values should remain higher because no incremental investment will be required,” said Doug Lenz, director of product management and marketing for Thermo King.

The new engines will be introduced in the Precedent platform available in January 2013. Precedent is a new trailer temperature control platform built from the ground up to deliver double-digit fuel savings and lower life cycle costs while still being compliant.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, Thermo King will also offer a full range of truck and auxiliary power unit (APU) solutions compliant with Environmental Protection Agency Tier IV final regulations for engine emissions. TK customers can obtain CARB and EPA certification documents from their local dealer.

 

New smartphone app targets trucking sportsmen

With so many truck drivers interested in hunting and fishing, Interstate Sportsman Radio expects that its new smartphone application will prove to be popular.

The Interstate Sportsman Radio Network says it is the world’s first radio network devoted exclusively to reaching North America’s professional truck driver. An Internet-based broadcast, the Interstate Sportsman Radio Network offers a free app, which enables listeners to catch the broadcast anywhere in the U.S. via their mobile telephone. Broadcast all day, every day, this network features entertainment, news and outdoor content specific to the continent’s over-the-road drivers.

The brainchild of Brock Ray, co-host of the Interstate Sportsman Radio show on the Sirius XM Road Dog channel, the Interstate Sportsman Radio Network prominently features the country’s leading hunting and fishing radio shows as well other sports and recreational entertainment.

 

Roadrunner on the move

Milwaukee-based Roadrunner Transportation Systems has acquired Expedited Freight Systems, a regional LTL company for $10 million. EFS, with total revenues of $19 million, is the third acquisition for Roadrunner this year.

Roadrunner acquired Omaha-based refrigerated carrier R&M/Sortino Transportation of Omaha, NE, earlier in August for $24.4 million. In June, it acquired refrigerated carrier CTW Transport, Boston, MA, for $7.5 million.  

 

Mack Trucks introduces two new Bulldog coolants

Mack Trucks has introduced two new proprietary Bulldog-branded coolants.

Mack Bulldog Extended Life Coolant uses carboxylate-based, organic additive technology that contains nitrite. Mack claims that it delivers a service life of 600,000 miles or 12,000 hours or 48 months, with no extender needed. It is silicate-free and phosphate-free, and can be distinguished by its red color.

Mack Bulldog Heavy-Duty PF Coolant is a fully formulated, phosphate-free coolant. It offers a service life of 300,000 miles or 6,000 hours or 24 months and has a purple or fuchsia color.

 

Bridgestone wants to set record straight on retreads

In an effort to set the record straight on retreads, Bridgestone Commercial Solutions has relaunched Retread Instead as an online campaign aimed at educating truckers and fleets on the value of extending tire life.

The website hosts short, informational videos about the benefits of retreading as well as easy-to-understand clips on the retreading process. A feature of the site is the space dedicated to debunking common myths around retreads, especially those surrounding safety and mileage.

 

Pilot Flying J opens gym in Dallas, more coming

By Kimberely Lennard, Land Line staff writer

Snap Fitness Rolling Strong gyms have introduced a way to get fit and stay fit on the road. The company has partnered with Pilot Flying J Travel Centers to open a gym for professional drivers.

The first location recently opened at the Pilot Flying J on Bonnie View Road in Dallas. There are currently almost 100 members.

Gym memberships give access to Snap Fitness Rolling Strong Gyms located at the Pilot Flying J location 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, plus over 1,300 Snap Fitness locations worldwide. More than 45 of the existing Snap Fitness locations will be truck friendly and also open 24 hours a day, according to Sean Mohr, Vice President of Development at Rolling Strong and Snap Fitness.

Facility equipment includes treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bikes and a full body strength circuit. The gym has 24-hour surveillance and requires a membership card to access.

A professional trainer is available during certain hours to assist drivers with their fitness goals and to develop a workout plan that fits their needs. Fitness workout cards allow drivers to manage their workout routines, regardless of which location they visit.

Mohr told Land Line that four more locations have broken ground in Rising Fawn, GA, just south of Chattanooga, TN; Lebanon, TN on I-40 outside of Nashville; East St. Louis, IL; and Gallup, NM. All locations will be approximately 1,000 square feet and contain the same high-end fitness equipment found at normal Snap Fitness gyms. The company hopes to have at least 10 open by the end of the year, with a plan to build up to 150 locations as quickly as possible.

Snap Fitness Rolling Strong gym memberships are $19.95 a month for the member and $12.95 for a spouse, with no contract or enrollment fee. Mohr said drivers can sign up for an initial month for $8.95 to try it out.

Snap Fitness is a franchise of compact, state-of-the-art fitness centers that provides members a fast, convenient workout alternative to health clubs.

Rolling Strong is a driver wellness program delivered to drivers on the road. Its mission is to educate drivers and share products and services to help them on the road. Chief Operating Officer Diana Van Leuven said the company introduced a Rolling Strong food product line last week, in addition to an in-cab workout system called FIT with Freightliner.

For more information, go to RollingStrong.com.

 

Continental Tires offers roadside assistance program to OOIDA members

Breakdowns and roadside emergencies are costly expenses that no trucker enjoys. But while larger trucking fleets usually have national service plans, owner-operators and independent drivers often find themselves alone on the road, negotiating their own prices for repairs.

Continental Truck Tires USA commercial tire division has rolled out a new roadside assistance program for members of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

As of Aug. 1, OOIDA members are automatically enrolled in a new emergency road service program exclusively for the organization, called TrukFix for OOIDA. The program allows members free access to a 24-hour, seven-day-per-week call center at 877-TRUCKFIX (877-878-5349). The program has no membership costs for OOIDA members.

Operators will help identify the issue, locate a service provider, provide regulated pricing for tires and related services, and stay in contact with the driver until he or she is back on the road.

iPhone or iPad users can access the TrukFix for OOIDA service through Continental’s Truck Tires Dealer Locator app, available at the iTunes App Store or by using the QR code on www.trukfix.com.

TrukFix for OOIDA also offers credit card billing, as well as follow-up calls made the next day to make sure members are satisfied with the service.

For more information about any of these plans, visit trukfix.com.

 

TravelCenters of America opens 40th free fitness facility

The 40th StayFit fitness center in the TA and Petro Stopping Centers network has opened at TA Dallas South, located at Interstate 20 and I-635, Exit 472, in Dallas, TX.

All StayFit fitness rooms are free to professional drivers who carry the UltraONEDriver Rewards card. Rooms include weight training resistance equipment, adjustable sit-up boards, elliptical for cardio workouts, and recumbent bikes.

StayFit rooms also have weight scales, workout mats, wall-mounted TVs and fans.

TA launched the StayFit program in early 2011 and continues to expand it. The program includes “better-for-you” food options in restaurants and travel stores for drivers while they are on the road.

In addition, there are 120 mapped walking trails at TA and Petro locations nationwide, seven locations have basketball hoops, and all locations have pet exercise areas. Drivers interested in the walking trails can pick up maps at participating sites.

The 41st StayFit fitness room is opening at the Petro Stopping Centers in Carnesville, GA, within the next week. More will be added soon.

For a complete listing of all TA and Petro fitness rooms, walking trail and basketball locations, visit tatravelcenters.com.

 

IdleAir opens new site at Flying J in Milton, PA

As brutal temperatures continue to punish parts of the U.S., truck drivers without APUs are looking for places to stop and keep cool while out on the road.

On Tuesday, July 24, IdleAir announced that a new site has opened at the Flying J at exit 215 on Interstate 80 in Milton, PA.

According to the release, customers can enjoy “free, limited service” at IdleAir’s newest location through July 31. 

The company now has 29 locations in 12 states throughout the country. They hope to have more than 100 locations by 2014.

 

Companies announce partnership to build CNG infrastructure

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer

The race to secure the alternative fuels market is on as unpredictable diesel prices have forced the trucking industry to explore other fueling options to help increase their profits, while lowering their fuel costs.

On Tuesday, July 17, two companies, DeBartolo Development, a real estate development company, and Keystone Consulting Group, a real estate consulting firm, announced a plan to build 1,000 compressed natural gas fueling stations in the U.S. over the next four years. They plan to build 10 initial sites as part of the CNG Infrastructure Expansion Project.

Erik Hector, a managing member of the Keystone Consulting Group, told Land Line that they are initially focusing their efforts to build sites in five states – Florida, Louisiana, West Virginia, Ohio and California – but opportunities are being discovered in many other states as well.

“We are negotiating with several co-developers, users and tenants, but we are not yet able to announce locations,” Hector said.

“In the initial years of our effort, we anticipate private access facilities will be the predominant investment option with public stations becoming more popular as markets are ‘seeded’ with bi-fuel vehicles,” Hector said. “We hope to deploy a layered strategy to foster the acceptance of CNG fuels by both private and public users.

When asked if new fueling stations will be available to small-business truckers, Hector said that “one-third of our outstanding Letters of Intent involve stations serving your (Land Line) readership.”

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AirFlow Bullet Truck gets 13.4 mpg on coast-to-coast trip

By Land Line staff

Back in 1985, a truck driver named Bob Sliwa built an aerodynamic truck. Sliwa, an OOIDA member from Newington, CT, ran his truck for a while, then retired to pursue other interests. But he never forgot his dream. In 2008, he began work on his current project, the AirFlow Bullet Truck.

The truck was featured on a 1985 cover of Land Line. And in June 2012, Senior Technical Editor Paul Abelson reported on the details of Sliwa’s new aerodynamic “bullet truck” in his article “How flow can you go?”

In the latest news, Sliwa reported recently that the AirFlow Bullet Truck just completed “a coast-to-coast, revenue-producing, real-world, freight-hauling run” and achieved 13.4 mpg average for the entire trip.

Copyright © OOIDA

 

ITS Financial Services will offer 75K bond for its Diamond Broker members

In response to the newly enacted legislation mandating the higher bond limit upon all brokerages and freight forwarders, ITS Financial Services announces the addition of a $75,000 surety bond as part of its Diamond Broker program. 

ITS Financial Services is an affiliate of Internet Truckstop and manages the Diamond Broker program. Members of Internet Truckstop who maintain an “A” experience factor with Internet Truckstop and meet certain credit and performance criteria are eligible to participate in the Diamond Broker program. At present membership includes more than 1,000 brokers. ITS says the program will allow these brokers to meet the new requirement at an “affordable price.”

According to ITS, the program does not require the maintenance of collateral, which addresses a major industry concern particularly for smaller to mid-sized firms.

The program will be available in August of this year.

 

Truckers sought for study of weight loss drug

By Land Line staff

A biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of obesity drugs announced early this month that it is sponsoring a large study in its quest for final FDA approval of its weight-loss drug Contrave. The “Light Study” has begun enrolling patients for the clinical trials and among those sought for participation are truckers.

OrexigenTherapeutics Inc. is the maker of Contrave, which combined with exercise, aims to help obese individuals with weight loss. The goal is to have the drug approved and on the market by 2015.

The study – which seeks 10,000 participants – is designed to assess the cardiovascular health outcomes of the drug. The study drug is made up of two medications, bupropion and naltrexone, that are already FDA approved and used for other medical conditions. This combination study drug is not yet FDA approved.

The Healthy Trucking Association of America – an organization that offers programs to raise awareness and help improve the health of professional drivers – wants truckers to be aware of the the Light Study. HTAA says the study offers truckers the opportunity to participate in the clinical trial, get a free doctor-supervised weight-loss program, plus receive up to $840 for taking part in the program.

According to HTAA, individuals may qualify for the Light Study if they are men age 45 or older or women age 50 or older; must be obese; and have a cardiovascular risk factor like high blood pressure and/or type 2 diabetes with certain heart risk factors. A placebo is also used in the study.

“There are millions of truckers in the U.S., and a large percentage of them are overweight. Many many are classified as obese,” said HTAA’s Brett Blowers. “Many are hypertensive and/or suffering from type 2 diabetes, as well. Research suggests that losing just 5-10 percent of your body weight can significantly improve your health and lower your risk of complications from diabetes and heart disease.”

According to Blowers, truckers can apply online and, if qualified, be notified and enrolled.

Your doctor does not have to give his/her permission for truckers to take part. However, either you or the physician conducting the study, with your permission, should contact your personal physician to discuss your participation in the study before you begin and to keep your doctor up-to-date about your progress.

Copyright © OOIDA

 

J.D. Power finds heavy-duty truck owners sufferin’ from EPA blues

The introduction of engines that meet revised EPA regulations is once again taking a toll on heavy-duty truck quality and customer satisfaction, reports J.D. Power and Associates. In its 2012 customer satisfaction study on U.S. heavy-duty trucks released Wednesday, June 27, the global marketing info company says customers are reporting more problems with their truck engine.

The study is based on responses from 1,725 primary maintainers of one-model-year-old Class 8 heavy-duty trucks. The study was fielded in April and May 2012.

Overall customer satisfaction with heavy-duty trucks declines to 737 index points on a 1,000-point scale in 2012, compared with 751 in 2011, primarily due to an increase in the number of problems experienced. The study finds that quality of Class 8 trucks that are one model year old has decreased, with problem levels rising 9 percent to 223 problems per 100 trucks in 2012, up from 204 in 2011. Overall quality is determined by the level of problems experienced per 100 trucks, with a lower score reflecting higher quality. Much of the overall quality decline is attributed to a higher rate of engine- and fuel-related problems, which have increased by 14 percent from 2011.

The most problematic engine and fuel problems are driven by technology that is designed to reduce emissions from heavy-duty truck engines.

“Following the revised EPA regulations in 2007, there was an increase in problems and a decline in customer satisfaction, and we anticipated the same thing would happen with the introduction of 2010 EPA-compliant engines,” said Brent Gruber, director of the commercial vehicle practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “Emission-related technology results in a high rate of problems, particularly with ECM calibration, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valves and engine sensors. The new, more complex engines are resulting in more problems and downtime.”

Vocational truck customers experience an average of 2.2 unscheduled maintenance procedures per year, resulting in an average of 7 days of downtime, while on-highway owners report an average of 2.9 unscheduled maintenance procedures, or an average of 7.7 days of downtime.

“Engine reliability has the greatest impact on overall product satisfaction, so it’s vital that truck and engine manufacturers work quickly to reduce the number of problems related to the emission technologies,” said Gruber. “The truck brands of European companies have fewer problems, specifically, those related to the technology required to meet the emission standards, because they have been using the technology for years in other markets.”

Gruber explains that since 2008, Europe has had emission standards similar to those enacted in the U.S. market in 2010, so manufacturers that build heavy-duty trucks for that market have the advantage of applying technology proven in Europe in its U.S. models. As a result, brands such as Freightliner and Volvo earn above-average satisfaction for engine reliability and dependability, as well as fewer engine- and fuel-related problems than industry average. On average, truck brands owned by U.S. companies experience 22 percent more engine- and fuel-related problems than their competitors owned by European companies.

The study measures the satisfaction of primary maintainers of Class 8 heavy-duty trucks that are one model year old in two product segments, on highway and vocational. In each segment, satisfaction is determined by examining six key factors: cab/body; cost of operation; engine; ride/handling/braking; transmission; and warranty.

Freightliner ranks highest in heavy-duty truck customer satisfaction in both the on-highway and vocational segments.

In the on-highway segment, which evaluates long- and short-haul trucks, Freightliner ranks highest with an index score of 750 and performs particularly well in all six factors. Volvo ranks second (739), while Peterbilt ranks third (736).

In the vocational segment, Freightliner ranks highest with an index score of 789. International ranks second (766) and Peterbilt ranks third (753).

The study also measures satisfaction with service received from authorized truck dealers by examining six factors: service advisor; service delivery; service facility; service initiation; service price; and service quality.

Kenworth ranks highest in Class 8 customer satisfaction with dealer service for a second consecutive year. Kenworth, with an index score of 804, performs particularly well across all factors. Following Kenworth in the rankings are Freightliner (802) and Volvo (784).

Headquartered in Westlake Village, CA, J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company providing forecasting, performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions.

 

TA/Petro: Be ready for Roadcheck with a free mid-trip inspection

Truckers aren’t the only ones who are prepped for the annual 72-hour safety blitz. Travel Centers of America invites truckers to “avoid a CVSA Roadcheck violation with a free mid-trip inspection.”

TA/Petro says truckers can stop at any participating TA Truck Service or Petro Lube location for a “quick, non-measured” inspection of key items that the DOT looks for. Mid-trip inspections are available through June 9.

After June 9, TA and Petro will still offer free mid-trip inspections if there is an empty bay at participating locations. 

 

Freightliner Natural Gas Tour planned for May 17-24

By Kimberely Lennard, Land Line staff writer

The Freightliner Natural Gas Tour is planned for May 17-24. A Cascadia day cab tractor fueled by CNG will be driven from Los Angeles to Washington, DC.

The truck will be refueled with CNG along the way. Stops include Phoenix, AZ; Oklahoma City, OK; North Little Rock, AR; Nashville, TN; and ending just south of Washington, DC, in National Harbor, MD.

 

The tour truck is pulling a 53-foot trailer, courtesy of Ryder, loaded with approximately 30,000 pounds of cardboard that will be delivered for recycling in Washington, DC.

To follow the Cascadia’s progress and learn more about CNG, visit FreightlinerGreen.com. The total fuel savings counter has statistics tracking miles traveled, average CNG fuel price, average MPG and estimated greenhouse gas reduction.

 

Schneider National replacing 3,000 trucks

Schneider National announced this week it will replace one-third of its 10,000-plus trucks by the end of this year. The company has invested in 3,000 new 2012 and 2013 tractors, or 75 per week.

The trucks are primarily Freightliners and include Meritor WABCO’s OnGuard collision mitigation system. OnGuard features a forward-looking radar sensor that monitors the distance, speed and deceleration of a vehicle ahead and alerts the driver to take appropriate action through an in-cab display.

Don Osterberg, senior vice president of safety and security at Schneider National said, “If a situation should arise where the gap between our truck and the vehicle in front closes to less than 3.6 seconds, a warning will sound, allowing the driver to take the necessary steps to regain a safe cushion.”

If the driver fails to take appropriate action, the system will deactivate the cruise control, depower the engine, and even apply the brakes to avoid a collision.

The tractors have aerodynamic features that reduce drag, including wheel covers. Most will have redesigned fairings to optimize fuel efficiency and improve mileage per gallon, as well as Predictive Cruise Control. Annually, the new trucks will save almost 2 million gallons of fuel and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 22,000 tons.

 

TravelCenters of America to honor women drivers on Mother’s Day

TravelCenters of America invites all professional driving women to enjoy a complimentary meal on Mother’s Day this Sunday, May 13, at any participating TA or Petro Stopping Centers sit-down restaurant.

“We understand that drivers sacrifice their personal and family time by being on the road, doing what needs to be done to keep America moving,” said Tom O’Brien, president and CEO of TravelCenters. “We hope to make Mother’s Day a little brighter for moms and daughters, aunts and nieces, and grandmothers and granddaughters, especially if they are away from their families on this special day.”

Women drivers simply need to show their valid commercial driver’s license to their restaurant server prior to ordering to receive one free meal (up to a $15 value) at more than 170 participating Iron Skillet, Country Pride and other full-service, home-style restaurants within TA and Petro Stopping Centers.

 

Internet Truckstop adds paid shipper rates to service

Internet Truckstop, the largest web-based freight matching service in the transportation industry, has added paid shipper rates as part of the existing RateMate service. 

This new feature includes 30, 60 and 90 days of paid shipper rate data provided by thousands of shippers over the past few years. The database of companies submitting rates includes all aspects of the shipping industry from small companies to Fortune 500 companies and includes rates paid to carriers and brokers.

 

Atlas drivers like Subway, Shell Rotella, KWs and satellite radio

Atlas Van Lines is out with its annual survey of driver preferences when it comes to things like food and lodging. This year, a majority of the 167 drivers who responded said Subway is their favorite fast food and Petro’s Iron Skillet is their top restaurant.

Most think Kenworth makes the best tractor and Bridgestone scored as their favorite tire. Favorite truck stop chain is Petro and Super 8 is the favorite lodging. A whopping 47 percent use Shell Rotella. Fresh fruit is the snack of choice while driving. 

More than half (55 percent) reported they listen to satellite radio. 

Sixty percent have smartphones and of those, most have iPhones. Verizon topped the cell phone service provider of choice.

Seventy-five percent use the Internet daily and 56 percent use social networking (like Facebook) every day.

 

MHC Kenworth-KC earns KW’s first Paccar MX Dealer of Year Award

MHC Kenworth-Kansas City was named the first recipient of the new Kenworth Paccar MX Dealer of the Year award for the United States and Canada at the annual Kenworth dealer meeting held recently in Columbus, OH.

“We’re thrilled to be the first Kenworth dealer to win this award,” said Tim Murphy, CEO of MHC, which operates 43 Kenworth dealerships in 10 states, including MHC Kenworth-Kansas City.

Gary Moore, KW’s general manager and Paccar VP said more than 20,000 trucks now operate with the Paccar MX engine in various customer applications throughout North America. The engine is available with a horsepower range of 380 hp to 485 hp and torque up to 1,750 lb-ft on selected Kenworth Class 8 models.  

 

IdleAir opens new location in Arizona

As fuel prices continue to hover above the $4 mark, truck drivers without APUs continue to seek alternative idling solutions.

IdleAir services are now available at 27 locations in 12 states with more than 2,000 installed parking spaces.

Until April 30, IdleAir will offer free limited service at its newest location at the Sunmart Truck Stop at exit 378 on Interstate 10 in San Simon, AZ.

According to an IdleAir release, premium service will be available for $1.25 per hour through May 31, at the new site.

 

Goodyear DuraSeal Tire Survives 367 Punctures Without Losing Pressure

This year’s Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY, drew a record number of attendees, and The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company set its own record of sorts during the three-day event thanks to its DuraSeal Technology.

Mid-America Trucking Show attendees drove 367 nail holes into a Goodyear G394 SST wide-base trailer tire at the tire manufacturer’s booth – without any impact on tire inflation. 

Attendees punctured the tire using Goodyear’s “DuraSeal Popper,” a device that enables users to pierce the tread area of a tire by pulling down on a handle. (The tire was mounted on the DuraSeal Popper, but not under a load at the time.)

“The results were eye-popping,” said Tim Miller, marketing communications manager, Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems. “DuraSeal Technology is the industry’s first and only built-in tire sealant, and is designed for multiple punctures while maintaining tire pressure.”

DuraSeal is a yellow, gel-like rubber compound that instantly seals punctures of up to 1/4-inch in diameter in the tread area of the tire. (It does not seal sidewall punctures.) As a nail enters the tire and reaches the tire’s inner liner, DuraSeal immediately surrounds the puncture to seal the leak.

“If the nail is pulled out, DuraSeal can instantly fill the hole and keep air from escaping,” said Miller. “People are amazed that a truck tire can seal itself.”

Goodyear’s DuraSeal Technology is available in drive and trailer tires for over-the-road applications, plus in all-position tires for mixed service and waste-haul applications. To learn more about DuraSeal, visit www.goodyeartrucktires.com/technology/duraseal.aspx.

Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems offers a broad portfolio of products and services to the commercial fleet industry, including a full range of original equipment and replacement tires; the fleetHQ portfolio of business solutions; national programs, tire management tools; online information; and business problem-solving tools for tomorrow’s commercial fleets. For more information, go to www.goodyeartrucktires.com. For more information about fleetHQ, go to http://www.fleethq.com.

 

American Truck Dealers move 2013 convention to Orlando

The American Truck Dealers has announced that it is moving its 2013 Convention and Expo to Orlando, FL, in February, in response to survey results of attendees from the past convention. The 2013 ATD convention was originally scheduled for Tampa next April.

Orlando is the site of the 2013 National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention and Expo, which is considered “the industry event of year.” The two events will run simultaneously at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando from Feb. 8-11.

In a press release, ATD stated nearly 77 percent of respondents who attended the ATD convention in Las Vegas this past February indicated that they favored holding future ATD conventions in conjunction with NADA. Earlier this year, both conventions were held together for the first time.

The American Truck Dealers represents about 2,000 medium- and heavy-duty truck dealers. ATD members share in NADA’s programs, services and benefits. ATD hosts an annual convention and expo for dealers and dealership managers.

 

Bridgestone: New project could be breakthrough for rubber industry

By Land Line staff

This could be big. With the demand for tires expected to increase, Bridgestone Corp. has announced the Bridgestone Group’s plans for an extensive research project in the United States dedicated to developing guayule as a commercially viable, renewable source of high-quality natural rubber and as an alternative to the hevea tree, which is currently the primary source for tire rubber.

Guayule (pronounced why-u-lee) is a perennial shrub native to the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico. This plant produces natural rubber in its bark and roots. Natural rubber from guayule has almost identical qualities compared to natural rubber harvested from hevea trees.

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations is currently seeking land to establish the pilot farm and construct the rubber process research center in the southwestern U.S. The facility is expected to be fully operational in 2014. Trial rubber production should start in 2015.

 

Trucker’s Helper donates to St. Christopher

John Ewing is the owner of Trucker’s Helper, a company that specializes in accounting software specifically designed for truckers. For the second year, he took some of his company’s earnings and made a donation to the St. Christopher Trucker Development and Relief Fund. This year at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ewing made a $500 donation. The check was accepted by SCF’s Director of Fundraising Denise Pittenger.

 

Volvo hybrid race truck to attempt new speed records

By Land Line staff

The world’s fastest hybrid Class 8 truck will try to beat its own speed record (it owns three) April 27 at Wendover Airfield in Utah. From a standing start, the Volvo hybrid “Mean Green” will attempt to do more than 165-miles-per-hour in a little over half-a-mile.

In building the Mean Green, which was revealed by Volvo Trucks at the Mid-America Trucking Show, Volvo’s team of hybrid technology experts adapted Volvo’s hybrid driveline to the chassis requirements of a truck built for speed. Engineers then outfitted Mean Green with a highly tuned Volvo D16 engine and a modified version of Volvo’s automated I-Shift gearbox, which interacts with the hybrid’s electric motor.

“The result is a lightning-speed boost from start-off without any of the customary diesel-engine delay,” said Boije Ovebrink, Mean Green’s owner and driver. “It’s like a champagne cork, but without the sound effects. For the first couple of seconds the truck just makes a slight whistle until the diesel engine, which runs on renewable liquid rosin diesel, starts delivering with explosive force.”

In total, Mean Green pumps out a massive 2,100 horsepower and nearly 5,000 lb-ft. torque – of which, 200 horsepower and 885 lb-ft. of torque come from the electric motor. Volvo designers selected a North American VN cab and sculpted the optimal aerodynamic shape for the truck.

 

Ritchie Bros. conducts largest Mexico auction in its history

By Land Line staff

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers’ first-ever Mexico national auction broke records last week for highest gross auction proceeds and largest number of bidders.

Ritchie Bros., the world's largest auctioneer of used and unused heavy equipment, set multiple records at its first-ever Mexico national auction held in Polotitlan, state of Mexico, on March 28-29, 2012.

In total, more than 1,150 heavy equipment items and trucks were sold during the two-day auction, with each item being sold to the highest bidder, regardless of price, with no minimum bids or reserve prices. The unreserved public auction set new company records in Mexico for highest gross auction proceeds – nearly $19 million (US) – and most bidders at 735.

In the transportation sector, more than 60 truck tractors were sold. In that group, the high sellers were two 2012 Freightliner Cascadias that went for $82,500 each. The median sale price of tractors was $44,000. The low seller went for $3,250.

A corporate communications rep from Ritchie Bros. told Land Line that the tractors came mainly from northern Mexico – Baja, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango – and that many of them were being used to haul equipment from the recently booming mining operations in the region, mainly gold and copper. The sellers of the trucks reside in Mexico, but also operate in the U.S. and Canada.

More than 700 people from 27 countries, including 32 Mexican states, registered to bid in person or online from as far away as Australia, Malaysia, Ireland and India. Bidders from outside of Mexico purchased nearly $2 million (U.S. dollars) worth of equipment (10 percent of total gross auction proceeds). In total, more than 325 bidders registered online and purchased more than $4 million worth of equipment.

Additional equipment included 36 crawler tractors, 27 hydraulic excavators, 26 wheel loaders, 12 articulated dump trucks and more.

The company has been in business for more than 50 years and has been conducting unreserved heavy equipment auctions for more than 15 years in Mexico.

Copyright © OOIDA

 

Battle ongoing over Tony the Tiger

Yet another lawsuit was filed in Louisiana on Thursday, April 6, in the on-going legal battle over “Tony the Tiger.” Tony is a Siberian-Bengal tiger that’s been on display in a cage at the Tiger Truck Stop off Interstate-10 near Baton Rouge for years.

An animal rights group has now filed suit hoping to get Tony moved to wildlife refuge.

In November, a judge ordered that the truck stop owner’s permit to keep the tiger be revoked, but another judge issued a temporary order barring the state from moving the animal.

 

Fat to fuel?

Tyson Foods has partnered with Syntroleum, a Tulsa-based company, to convert animal fat into diesel fuel. Dynamic Fuels – the joint venture of Syntroleum and Tyson – claims the renewable fuel has a higher cetane rating than normal diesel and is some of the highest-quality diesel fuel in the world.

Operations are underway at the new Dynamic Fuels plant, which is converting animal fats and greases into high-quality renewable fuels. Production at the Geismar, LA, plant began in early October, and the volume currently being produced is 2,500 barrels per day and growing.

Unlike the ethanol and biodiesel industries, which use food ingredients such as corn and soybean oil to produce fuel, Dynamic Fuels uses non-food-grade animal fats and greases.

According to the company, the facility’s renewable diesel fuel product meets all ASTM D975 specifications for diesel fuel and boasts a carbon footprint 75 percent below that of petroleum diesel. 

 

TRIB to give away $10,000 of retreads during MATS

The Tire Retread and Repair Information Bureau is expanding its “Spot the Retreads” competition at the Mid-America Trucking Show March 22-24 in Louisville, KY.

Visitors to TRIB’s booth No. 13036 can enter the “Spot The Retreads” contest and try to correctly identify a range of new and retreaded tires. Participants who correctly identify all the tires will be entered into daily drawings for sets of eight commercial truck tires to be retreaded on the participants own casings. With seven sets of retreaded tires to be won, the total value of the tires to be given away during the show is more than $10,000.

For more information about MATS, visit www.truckingshow.com.

 

Onspot automatic chains growing

Did you catch the article in March/April Land Line about OOIDA Members Bob and Linda Caffee and their Onspot automatic chains? We just heard some positive news from Onspot of North America announcing the expansion of its factory in North Vernon, IN.

Onspot had been planning to add to its existing 30,000 square foot facility when the building and property next door became available. The company chose to purchase the three- acre parcel with its 7400 square foot building. This will become Onspot’s storage warehouse. The additional space frees up the room required to add two more machines that assist in the production of Onspot’s automatic tire chain systems.

Onspot of North America has been supplying automatic tire chain systems for the past 24 years to more than 200 OEMS as a factory-installed option and to more than 1,400 dealers throughout North America. For more information, contact Onspot at 800-766-7768 or www.onspot.com

 

Petes take top honors in ATD Commercial Truck of the Year

The winners of the American Truck Dealers Commercial Truck of the Year were announced at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino on Sunday, Feb. 5. The award recognized the top truck entries in the heavy- and medium-duty categories. Nine trucks were nominated for the award; Peterbilt trucks won in both the heavy-duty and medium-duty categories.

Winners were the Peterbilt 587 SmartWay conventional tractor in the heavy-duty (Class 8) division and the Peterbilt Model 210 low cab forward in the medium-duty (Class 3-7) competition.

Other entries in the heavy-duty category were the Freightliner 114SD conventional dump truck, International ProStar Plus tractor with MaxxForce 15 engine, and the Kenworth T660 Regional Hauler with Paccar MX engine. The medium-duty truck entries were the Fuso Canter FE160 low cab forward, Isuzu NPR-HD Gas, Kenworth T440 Conventional, and UD 2600 low cab forward.

Trucks were judged on overall appearance, cab comfort, noise levels, roominess, ease of getting in and out of the truck, and convenience of maintenance.

Four journalists on the judging panel test drove the trucks on an eight-mile course that included rural and highway driving in Dallas last fall. Key judging factors included the trucks’ overall appearance, cab comfort, noise levels, roominess, ease of getting in and out of the truck, and convenience of maintenance.

The judges were Paul Abelson from Land Line Magazine, Tom Berg from Heavy Duty Trucking, Paul Hartley from Fleet Equipment magazine, and Jack Roberts from Commercial Carrier Journal.

 

DVX sunglasses for serious drivers

The hot new sunglasses that NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon was wearing this week at Daytona International Speedway will soon be available for all professional drivers. Although sunshine was sparse and the race didn’t happen until Monday night after sundown, the DVX Eyewear brand made its official debut anyway at the Sprint Cup Series kickoff festivities in Daytona Beach, FL.

The DVX brand by Wiley X includes 25 designs (five of which are Rx-capable) for both men and women. The new product line will be available exclusively through Wal-Mart Optical Centers beginning in mid-March.

The DVX sunglasses retail for $48 for non-polarized and $78 for polarized models. Wal-Mart Vision Centers offer free vision screenings in the store and a free 12-month guarantee on all frames and lenses.

 

Cummins adds new NG engine to heavy-duty lineup

Cummins is adding a new natural gas truck engine to its heavy-duty lineup. The engine is aimed at regional-haul truck/tractor, vocational and refuse applications. The new Cummins Westport ISX12 G burns either compressed or liquid natural gas and is currently in field trials with full production expected to begin in early 2013.

The ISX12 G natural gas engine is based on the Cummins ISX12 diesel engine platform.

 

Kenworth's NavPlus System: What? No kitchen sink?

Kenworth’s NavPlus system is spoiling KW operators with a driver’s-side 7-inch high-resolution color screen display that is loaded.

It offers everything from truck-specific navigation to hands-free telephone conversations – along with audio controls (including satellite-enabled radio, AM/FM, CD, MP3 and USB), and camera inputs for up to four optional video cameras for monitoring the truck and trailer.

Six virtual gauges provide current information on truck operation. Oil temperature, transmission temperature, manifold boost, current and average fuel economy, diesel particulate filter (DPF) status and percentage of torque come preloaded.

In addition, an on-screen preprogrammed button automatically dials the Kenworth PremierCare Customer Center, which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for roadside assistance.
 
At the core of the Kenworth NavPlus is an on-board navigation system that provides drivers with true truck-optimized routes from Garmin, customized to truck and load specifications. The system also allows truck and load information to be entered, which allows drivers to steer clear of restricted roads and streets. Audible prompts keep drivers’ eyes on the road, instead of on the screen.

 

Shell announces new loyalty program

Shell Lubricants has launched a loyalty program that rewards truck drivers and equipment operators for choosing Shell Rotella products. The “My Miles Matter” loyalty program allows members of the program to earn reward miles by purchasing select Shell Rotella products and services. Membership in the program is free.

In celebration of the launch of “My Miles Matter,” those registering on or before Feb. 29, 2012 will receive double miles for the reward code entered.

Between March 1 and April 30, all members (in most states) can register to have a chance to win $25,000 in diesel fuel. Everyone who registers during this time period will also get 250 miles automatically credited to their account. Secondary prizes include one hundred $25 Shell gift cards. See www.MyMilesMatter.com for the complete rules.

 

Xata: Can we be ‘tweet hearts’?

Fleet optimization software people, Xata Corp., have announced they are conducting a Twitter follower contest Feb. 7-28, 2012, to benefit the St. Christopher Development and Trucker Relief Fund. Follow them on Twitter at @XataNation.

For every new @XataNation Twitter follower, Xata will donate $1 (up to $1,000) to the St. Christopher Fund.

The SCF is a nonprofit dedicated to helping drivers who struggle with medical bills and unemployment due to illness or injury.

 

WIT to name Influential Woman of the Year

Women in Trucking’s choice for Influential Woman of the Year will be announced at the Truckload Carriers Association annual conference March 4-7 in Orlando, FL.

A panel assembled by the Women in Trucking organization will discuss “Overcoming the Challenges” faced by women working in the trucking industry. Panelists include Andreea Raaber, Bendix VP for business development; Joyce Brenny, president of Brenny Transportation and Chairman of Minnesota Trucking Association; Phyllis Cochran, president of the Navistar Inc. Parts Division; and Rochelle Gorman, chief executive officer, CalArk International Inc. Moderator will be Chris Burruss, president, Truckload Carriers Association.

The Influential Woman of the Year will be named following the panel discussion. Three finalists will be introduced. WIT President and CEO Ellen Voie will announce the winner.

 

Navistar commits to expanding LNG truck offerings

By Paul Abelson, Land Line senior technical editor

At a special briefing held in connection with the grand opening of Navistar’s new world headquarters in Lisle, IL, company executives announced a commitment to natural gas as the fuel of the future.

“Natural gas has clearly emerged as the most reliable alternative fuel option for the trucking industry,” said Navistar chairman, president and CEO Dan Ustian. “Together, Navistar and Clean Energy developed a breakthrough program.”

Clean energy president and CEO Andrew Littlefair announced his company’s plans to open 150 liquid natural gas (LNG) fueling stations, with 70 operating by the end of 2012. Most will be co-located at Pilot Flying J. The company foresees a nationwide network of natural gas fueling stations within a few years.

Navistar will develop natural gas versions of most existing engine platforms. Currently it offers DuraStar and WorkStar vocational trucks with natural gas-powered MaxxForce DT inline engines and will soon offer the Cummins-Westport ISL-G engine in its TranStar and WorkStar trucks. The company plans on developing LNG-fueled MaxxForce 13-liter engines with diesel pilot injection.

While engines like the ISL-G require spark plugs to ignite the fuel, Navistar’s pilot injection uses diesel to initiate combustion. Once a burn is established, it is sustained by the gas. That eliminates any need for spark plugs and related electrical systems.

The per-gallon-equivalent price deferential between gas and diesel is relatively constant at around $1.50, according to T. Boone Pickens, chief investment officer of BP Capital Management.

Pickens is a major force in natural gas exploration and production. “The United States has a minimum of 100 years of gas reserves, more than enough to drastically reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Pickens said.

Gas has not caught on as a fuel because of lack of infrastructure and a limited number of engine and fuel system options. Clean Energy’s commitment to build infrastructure and Navistar’s commitment to engine technology address the two major obstacles.

A third obstacle, the cost of vehicle conversion, is being addressed by Clean Energy. For operators who commit to purchasing 1,000 gallons of LNG per month per truck (equivalent to 100,000 miles a year at better than 8 mpg), monthly rebates will be available to repay the upcharges.

Special fuel tanks and engine changes are estimated at $35,000 per truck. In other words, up charges will be rebated over five years.

Vehicle range will be 400 to 600 miles depending on tank sizes. When the Clean Energy program is completed, fuel should be available every 250 miles. Vehicle weight will increase by less than 100 pounds. Refueling will take about 10 minutes.

Savings from the conversion to LNG should result in break-even periods as short as several years. The projections are based only on private investment. No government incentives are involved, although any incentives or tax credits for alternative clean-burning fuels will significantly shorten payback.

Copyright © OOIDA

 

Recall: Bendix scrambles to remedy defective valve

By Sandi Soendker, editor-in-chief

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems is recalling certain traction relay valves that will affect shipment of a large number of heavy trucks made by Paccar, Volvo, Mack and Navistar. In late January, the Ohio-based company notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration it had identified a potential defect on a traction relay valve fitted on 50,000 to 60,000 trucks manufactured between Dec. 2, 2010 and Jan. 18, 2012.

According to Bendix, OEMs were notified to ensure that the potentially affected trucks won’t be delivered for sale until there’s a fix. Bendix Communications Manager Barbara Gould said Thursday that the company was working as diligently as it could to get a remedy in place.

“Safety and customer satisfaction are top priority for us,” said Gould, “and when these types of situations arise, we do everything we can to get the right information and insure the fastest and least disruptive solution we can.”

The problem was discovered in mid-December after reports of intermittent brake applications. The company reports that following inspection of complaint vehicles, Bendix replicated the event under lab conditions and verified the situation in the field.

Gould said Bendix notified NHTSA on Jan. 26 of a potential defect on the ATR-6 traction relay valve. The problem is that internal leakage can develop, resulting in pressure being delivered to the affected service brake circuit.

Gould said it’s a potential problem, which means it doesn’t happen in every valve but can happen. The one consistent element, she said, is that it has occurred in vehicles operating in extremely cold – below zero – temps.

According to Gould, a temporary remedy kit is out there now and permanent one is forthcoming.

“From the OEM perspective, we are working closely with them to come up with a solution that works for them,” she said. “Some are already in the field installing the temporary remedy kit and we are working with others to come to a decision.”

Gould noted some confusion with a few reports she’d seen that indicated the defect was connected with Bendix’s stability and collision mitigation systems. Those reports are not accurate, she said.

“It’s not true that there are problems with these systems,” she said. “It’s an intermittent air leak issue, not related to stability and collision mitigation systems. Our Bendix ESP Full Stability System and Wingman ACB and Wingman Advanced – although they are temporarily suspended when you install the temporary remedy kit – are not the root cause of the condition.”

When the permanent remedy kit is installed, Gould said those systems will be instantly reactivated on the vehicle.

Bendix is providing online information and the latest developments at its Product Action Center and is now manning a toll free action line at 1-800-478-1793.

Copyright © OOIDA

 

Inver Grove Heights travel center to remain open during remodeling

Pilot Flying J recently acquired a travel center in Inver Grove Heights, MN, and will remodel the Pilot Travel Center to feature 43 parking spaces for trucks plus full amenities for professional drivers and the motoring public.

Located at 11650 Courthouse Blvd. along U.S. Highway 52/55 in Dakota County, the travel center will remain open during remodeling, which is expected to be complete in May 2012.

The 7,500-square-foot travel center will feature four fuel islands and five diesel islands along with DEF at the pump.  

The Inver Grove Heights location will include a Cat scale, Subway restaurant, which will reopen after the remodeling is complete; hot food deli; clean restrooms; pay phones; an AirVac; fax and copy services; Western Union and check cashing; an ATM; lottery and Lotto tickets; an arcade; laundry services; and general merchandise for professional drivers and highway travelers.

As with all other Pilot Flying J locations, the Inver Grove Heights Pilot Travel Center honors the Frequent Fueler Advantage card. Pilot and Flying J merged in 2010, and both brands are still available on U.S. highways.

Pilot Flying J is headquartered in Knoxville, TN, and has more than 550 retail locations across North America.  

 

Freight Wing offers OOIDA member discounts on side skirts

Owner-operators who own their own trailers can save on their fuel bills if they run with aerodynamic trailer side skirts. If they happen to be OOIDA members, they can save even more, thanks to a 15 percent OOIDA member discount being offered by Freight Wing, the company that manufactures EPA SmartWay-verified Aeroflex side skirts.  

New rules in California are requiring pre 2011-model year 53-foot dry van trailers to have aerodynamics by Jan. 1, 2013. New trailers must be spec’d with side skirts now.

For those running more than one trailer (up to 20), you can phase in trailer side skirts, but you must file a compliance agreement by Jan. 1, 2012. Refrigerated trailers must also comply, although the deadline varies by model year. For complete CARB requirements, go to the CARB web site: http://www.arb.ca.gov and click on The Truck Stop icon.

To learn more the OOIDA discount, go to the OOIDA website, www.ooida.com (click on benefits and services and go to discounts), or contact Freight Wing at 866-464-9464 or info@freightwing.com.

 

Freightliner aims for 8 mpg in 2015

The people at Freightliner say they’ve set a goal of improving the fuel efficiency of the Cascadia by 5 percent every two years. If they can pull it off, it will mean the Cascadia’s fuel use will improve from 6.7 miles per gallon in 2010 to almost 8 mpg in 2015.

Freightliner says it’s already boosted the tractor’s mileage with aerodynamic fairings and expects to introduce more aerodynamic improvements as well as mechanical advances and things like switching to a 5W-30 engine oil.

 

Rebates available to help truckers ‘electrify’

Truckers needing a cost-effective way to purchase anti-idling equipment for their rigs may want to check into a new rebate program being offered through the U.S. Department of Energy.

The manager of the DOE grant program is Cascade Sierra Solutions of Eugene, OR, which announced the $10 million Shorepower Technologies Electrification Project – or STEP. The goal is to provide “idle reduction equipment rebates for devices on medium and heavy-duty diesel trucks that incorporate electric standby operation or run on battery power to eliminate engine idling during mandated rest periods,” according to Cascade’s press release on Aug. 15.

The STEP plan is to “locate and install 50 truck stop facilities over the next 18 months” in busy freight corridors.

Individual rebates can be as much as 20 percent of the “installed equipment price.”

Owner-operators operating in the lower 48 states will be eligible to apply for the program. Small fleet owners may also apply, with a maximum of 25 rebates per fleet.

“Equipment purchases must be pre-authorized by Cascade Sierra Solutions with a rebate certificate prior to installation,” Cascade’s release stated. Those selected must agree to use STEP project “electrified truck parking where available until June 2014.”

According to the release, the types of equipment eligible for the rebates, and the maximum payments, include auxiliary power units or generator sets with electric stand-by options, $2,000 max; battery HVAC systems, $1,600; battery evaporative cooler systems, $700; thermal storage systems, $260, truck cold plate systems, $3,200; trailer transport refrigeration units with electric stand-by options, $5,000; and e-Hybrid transport refrigeration units with electric stand-by options, $5,000.

The equipment must be SmartWay-approved technology. Click here for the list.

 

Goodyear blog lets trucking professionals interact with tire expert

The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company has launched the fleetHQ “Ask The Tire Answer Man” blog, exclusively available at http://blog.fleethq.com/.

“This unique blog gives fleets and owner-operators an opportunity to interact with Tim Miller, Goodyear’s ‘Tire Answer Man,’” said Bruce Woodruff, director of business solutions marketing, Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems. 

A 30-plus-year commercial tire veteran, Miller also serves as marketing communications manager for Goodyear's commercial tire business.

“Having spent his career working with original equipment truck manufacturers, fleets and owner-operators in a variety of capacities from engineering to national account sales, Tim will draw upon his vast knowledge of the tire and trucking industries to discuss issues that are important to transportation professionals,” said Woodruff.

Goodyear’s fleetHQ program offers a variety of tools and benefits, including the 24/7 fleetHQ Solution Center, which dispatches service technicians to downed trucks. It also offers TV Track, a powerful online management tool that helps fleets monitor tire conditions and performance, among other functions; Gold Medallion retreaded tires; the fleetHQ Truck Stop Network, which encompasses more than 300 locations; and more.

 

Volvo goes for better mpg, sweet spot

Volvo says its new powertrain, the XE-13, will improve fuel efficiency by 3 percent or more in its VN series trucks. A Volvo press release says the system produces a low-rpm cruising speed while increasing torque. The company says the result is that the engine runs at its ‘”sweet spot” at all speeds.

 

Daimler brings the cloud to the cab

You know that “cloud” word you are always hearing in ads about the Internet? Now it’s coming to trucking. A strategic agreement between Daimler Trucks North America and a company called Zonar promises to offer some Freightliner drivers Virtual Technician, which DTNA says is the industry’s first real-time remote diagnostic system. They say it will be standard equipment on 2012 Freightliners equipped with Detroit Diesel BlueTec engines.

By leveraging Zonar cloud-based (Internet) technology with the Virtual Technician system, DTNA can provide immediate and proactive diagnostic service to their customers. The Virtual Technician transmits real-time engine diagnostics with vehicle performance indicators to the Detroit Diesel Customer Support Center. The support center then proactively communicates with fleets and vehicle owners regarding potential performance issues and service scheduling.

 

Pilot Flying J partners with Truckers Against Trafficking

In an effort to help raise awareness about human trafficking along America’s roadways, Pilot Flying J has partnered with Truckers Against Trafficking to expand education for employees and outreach to customers.

Truckers Against Trafficking ia an organization dedicated to educating, equipping, empowering and mobilizing the trucking industry to fight human trafficking. It recently received its nonprofit status from the Internal Revenue Service, making it a 5019(c)(3) organization.

Pilot Flying J posted information from the growing organization in its more than 550 travel centers and travel plazas across the U.S. These posters provide the national hotline number that individuals should call to provide an anonymous tip if they witness or suspect human trafficking. The number is 888-373-7888.

Professional drivers are encouraged to pick up a Truckers Against Trafficking wallet card at Pilot Flying J locations, which along with the national TAT hotline number provides an email contact, tips on trafficking red flags and specific information to provide to law enforcement with each tip.

Pilot Flying J also now includes general training about human trafficking and the organization’s resources to all company employees.

 

Freightliner design contest for college students

Freightliner Trucks has announced its “Design the Future of Pride & Profit” truck design contest. Open to college students studying within North America, entrants are invited to submit original designs for the owner-operator-style truck of the future.

The company is sponsoring a contest to see which college student can submit the best original design for a new truck – one that’s good looking, aerodynamic and user-friendly for owner-operators. The goal is to help generate out-of-the-box ideas for what owner-operators want.

Judging criteria will cover a broad spectrum of required skills, including concept, overall product appearance, originality, power of emotion, and illustration quality.

The contest runs from now through February 2012.

Three finalists, selected by a panel of commercial vehicle design experts, will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the 2012 Mid-America Trucking Show, where their designs will be on display at the Freightliner Trucks booth. The winner will receive a $20,000 scholarship fund and option for a paid internship at Freightliner Trucks.

For more information about the competition and a complete list of rules, go to www.FreightlinerTrucks.com/TruckDesignContest.

 

IdleAir extends price freeze through end of May

IdleAir has announced an extension of the 2011 Price Guarantee Program, which freezes current prices through May 31, 2012.

IdleAir Premium Service will remain at $1.99 an hour through May 31, 2012, and IdleAir’s Extended Stay Service for continuous stays beyond the first 10 hours will remain at $1.25 an hour through May 31, 2012. Drivers and fleets with different discounted rates will automatically receive the lowest hourly rate.

 

Volvo Trucks offers Bluetooth as standard on two models

In advance of the federal ban scheduled for Jan. 1, 2012, on commercial drivers’ use of hand-held mobile devices while driving, Volvo Trucks in North America will now offer its Bluetooth-equipped radio as standard equipment on all VN and VHD models.

Volvo’s standard Bluetooth radio package includes a radio unit, microphone mounted in the overhead console, and full audio delivered through the truck’s speaker system. The integrated design allows drivers to see pertinent incoming and outgoing call information on the vehicle’s Driver Information Display.

The system extends the phone’s features, such as answering the phone by pushing one button, as required in the regulation.

In addition to the Bluetooth mobile phone system, the radio features AM, FM, CD and MP3 capabilities, accessible through an auxiliary and USB connector installed in a dash switch location.

 

Paccar parts to please

TRP Aftermarket Parts from Paccar recently announced a line of chrome-plated and stainless steel accessories. TRP parts are manufactured with tested 304-grade or 430-grade stainless steel to resist corrosion, while the chrome plating provides a uniform, attractive finish. Axle and hub covers feature screw-on wheel nut covers instead of pop-on installation features and are less likely to fall off.

TRP chrome and stainless parts include exterior accessories such as fenders, bumpers, kick panels, steps, skirts and toolboxes, and interior accessories such as knobs and panels. TRP also offers accessories designed specifically for popular Kenworth and Peterbilt models.

TRP Aftermarket Parts are available through authorized retailers including Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF dealerships. Visit TRPParts.com for a location near you.

 

Florida company develops ‘no fuel’ reefer

A Florida company has applied for a patent on a system that it says can power a reefer unit with batteries that are powered by the kinetic energy generated by the spinning of the truck’s wheels.

Emerald Technology Partners says the Wedway Refrigeration Power System refrigeration unit can run up to 10 hours after the truck has stopped. Or, the company says, it can be run off shore power.

With a Wedway-equipped refrigeration unit, the company claims the cost of operation is greatly reduced by doing away with the fossil fuel, lowering the overall weight of the system and allowing for more cargo weight.  

By Emerald’s calculation, there are more than a million reefers on the road that consume nearly $13 billion dollars worth of fuel each year.

 

Another Yokohama Tire price adjustment coming in February

Yokohama Tire Corp. will implement another price increase of up to 8 percent on all of its commercial truck tires in the U.S., effective Feb. 1. A spokesman for Yokohama confirmed that this represents the fifth increase since January 2011.

The tire company upped the price of its commercial tires 6 percent in January 2011, 8 percent in April, in July and again in October.

Rick Phillips, director of Commercial Sales cites costs of manufacturing and logistics, and domestic and global economic pressures.

 

Pilot Flying J completes purchase of Bosselman travel centers

Pilot Flying J and Bosselman Travel Centers Inc. announced in early January that the sale of seven Bosselman travel centers in the Midwest to Pilot Flying J is a done deal.

The centers are located in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota and are open for business Thursday, Jan. 5, as Pilot Travel Centers.  

In addition to Pilot Flying J’s acquisition, the companies agreed to expand Bosselman’s Boss Truck Shops repair facilities to 20 additional Pilot Flying J locations across the country.

The newly acquired centers are located in Des Moines (Altoona), IA; Colby, KS; Salina, KS; Rapid City, SD; Big Springs, NE; Wood River, NE, and Elm Creek, NE.

 

Dana, Eaton end alliance for marketing drivetrain components

Dana Holding Corp. and Eaton Corp. jointly announced in December that while they still have “deep respect for one another,” the marketing relationship between the two companies will end by the middle of 2012. Over the next six months, each company will be preparing to sell, market, and service customers independently of each other.

Eaton will continue to provide field services and support for all Eaton and Dana products through the middle of 2012 under the Roadranger brand, after which Dana will have the support systems in place to effectively service and support its customers independently.

 

Chapter 11 for Hostess

The company that makes Twinkies and Wonder Bread has filed for bankruptcy for the second time in five years. Hostess will continue operating its 36 bakeries and more than 500 distribution centers while it tries to restructure its finances.

Hostess says it filed for protection from its creditors because of debt, declining sales of some products, and the high cost of pensions and medical plans for its mostly union employees. Hostess has about 7,500 Teamster truck drivers and thousands of other workers who are represented by other unions.

Hostess was in bankruptcy from 2004 until 2009 and, at the time, cited many of the same reasons.

 

Don Schneider dies at age 76

Alzheimer’s Disease has claimed the life of former Schneider National president and chief executive officer Donald Schneider. He died Jan. 13 at age 76.

Schneider was named president of the Wisconsin-based trucking company in 1976 and stayed at the helm for more than 25 years. He retired from the daily operational responsibilities at Schneider National in 2002.

He is survived by his wife Patricia, five children, 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

The company was founded by his father, Al Schneider.

 

Thanks to truck stops, Subway is bigger than ever

“Five, five, five dollah foot-longgg” …The next time you order one of those at a Subway, you’ll be dining in the world’s largest restaurant chain. Subway is even bigger than McDonalds, with more than 37,000 sandwich shops in 98 countries.

One of the reason they’ve now topped all the others, in terms of units, is they are willing to operate Subway shops in so many non-traditional locations, like truck stops. Out of the more than 8,100 non-traditional locations with Subway restaurants, more than 4,100 locations are in convenience stores and truck stops.

Les Winograd with Subway’s franchise world headquarters in Milford, CT, told Land Line that the exact number of truck stop locations isn’t clear, but confirmed that Pilot Flying J and Love’s Travel Stops are among the top three non-traditional franchisees in the U.S.

“In the U.S. Pilot is the largest non-traditional franchisee, but they are our second largest non-traditional franchisee worldwide,” says Winograd. “The number one overall non-traditional franchisee worldwide is Couche Tard convenience stores, with 173 Subway franchises. The majority of Couche Tard’s Subway locations are in Canada with 108 franchises versus 65 in the US, which is why Pilot beats them out if you are only looking at the U.S. store counts.”

Winograd reports that Pilot currently owns and operates a total of 170 Subway franchises, all in the U.S. except one that’s in Canada.

 The Pantry Inc. comes in next with 150 to rank the second largest U.S. non-traditional franchisee and the third largest non-traditional worldwide.

Next is Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc. with 131 franchises open and operating. Love’s is the third largest non-traditional franchisee in the U.S. behind Pilot and The Pantry, and the fourth largest non-traditional franchisee worldwide.

The most non-traditional location is neither a truck stop nor convenience store, but the True Bethel Baptist Church in Buffalo, NY.

 

ATD Commercial Truck of the Year winners announced Feb.5

The winners of the American Truck Dealers Commercial Truck of the Year will be announced at the Las Vegas Hotel on Sunday, Feb. 5. The award recognizes the top truck entries in the heavy- and medium-duty categories. Nine trucks were nominated for the award.

The heavy-duty (Class 8) truck entries are the Freightliner 114SD conventional dump truck, International ProStar Plus tractor with MaxxForce 15 engine, Kenworth T660 Regional Hauler with Paccar MX engine, and Peterbilt 587 SmartWay conventional tractor. The medium-duty (Class 3-7) truck entries are the Fuso Canter FE160 low cab forward, Isuzu NPR-HD Gas, Kenworth T440 Conventional, Peterbilt Model 210 low cab forward, and UD 2600 low cab forward.

Trucks were judged on overall appearance, cab comfort, noise levels, roominess, ease of getting in and out of the truck, and convenience of maintenance.

Four journalists on the judging panel test drove the trucks on an eight-mile course that included rural and highway driving in Dallas last fall. Key judging factors included the trucks’ overall appearance, cab comfort, noise levels, roominess, ease of getting in and out of the truck, and convenience of maintenance.

The judges were Paul Abelson from Land Line magazine, Tom Berg from Heavy Duty Trucking, Paul Hartley from Fleet Equipment magazine, and Jack Roberts from Commercial Carrier Journal.

 

Discovery Channel announces new 'World's Toughest Trucker' series

Eight truck drivers from six different countries will put their driving skills to the test in a new Discovery Channel series, World’s Toughest Trucker, premiering at 10 p.m. EST on Monday, Feb. 13.

The new series features truck drivers from the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Australia and Sri Lanka. All are competing for a $150,000 prize.

According to the release, truck drivers will compete in three-day challenges in some of the harshest environments on earth, including the Australian Outback and icy roads in the Himalayas. 

Drivers must face “unusual cargo, massive rigs, lethal roads and each other” as a driver is eliminated in each episode for “slow times and penalties.”

 

 

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