Trucking Biz Buzz Archive

Load boards reporting spot rate decline across all modes

Two leading load boards are in agreement this week: Average spot rates for all modes went down last week. Analysis of rates provided by DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards, and Truckstop.com reveal varied rates for reefer, van and flatbed rates.

Van rates went down 2 cents to $1.76, according to Truckstop.com. DAT also reports a 2-cent decrease for van rates $1.77, and load-to-truck ratios decreased by 1.2 percent to 1.8 loads per truck.

Reefer rates at Truckstop.com had a significant decrease of 6 cents to $1.98. DAT reefer rates show a more modest decline of only a penny to $2.04.

Truckstop.com is reporting a 3-cent decrease to $1.98 for flatbed rates. DAT reveals a larger decrease of 8 cents to $2.07.

Across all modes, Truckstop.com shows that load availability decreased by 4 percent and truck availability increased by 3 percent, indicating a relatively small disadvantage for truckers seeking loads in comparison to the previous week. According to DAT, van and reefer load-to-truck ratios had a small decline, whereas flatbed ratios slightly increased.

Based on both DAT and truckstop.com reports, load availability in Arkansas appears to be strong, with Texas and North Carolina also showing higher availability. Numbers for Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut indicate a weaker market for load availability. Weak and strong markets are little changed from the previous week.

 

American Central Transport increasing pay for drivers

American Central Transport (ACT) recently announced that it will be increasing pay for both company drivers and owner-operators.

Owner-operators who add Lytx DriveCams to their truck can earn an additional 2 cents per mile. A hazmat endorsement can earn owner-operators $1.05 per loaded mile, while drivers without hazmat credentials will receive 99 cents per loaded mile. Empty miles will be paid at a rate of 90 cents in addition to fuel surcharge. All of these changes go into effect on Aug. 24.

Company drivers will receive a 2-cent-per-mile increase effective Aug. 24. This bump in pay is in addition to a 1-cent increase company drivers received earlier this year. Not including fuel bonuses, a maximum of 52 cents per mile can be earned with the 7 percent increases.

Drivers for engineered and dedicated lanes will receive a $0.01 per mile pay increase.

 

Spot market reports show drop in van rates

Two leading load boards agree van rates dipped this past week. Analysis of rates provided by DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards, and Truckstop.com reveal varied rates for reefers and flatbeds.

Van rates went down 3 cents to $1.79, and load-to-truck ratios increased by 11 percent to 1.9 loads per truck, according to DAT. Truckstop.com has a 1-cent decrease to $1.77.

DAT reefer rates were significantly reduced by 8 cents to $2.05. Comparatively, rates dropped a penny to $2.03 at Truckstop.com.

Flatbed rates increased by 2 cents to $2.15, based on DAT stats. With a significant difference in rates, Truckstop.com is reporting a 2-cent decrease to $2.03.

According to DAT, reefer and van load-to-truck ratios increased by around 10 percent, whereas flatbed ratios dropped 15 percent. Across all modes, Truckstop.com shows that load availability increased by 2 percent and truck availability decreased by 1 percent, indicating an advantage for truckers seeking loads.

Based on both DAT and truckstop.com reports, load availability in Arkansas appears to be strong, with Texas and North Carolina also showing higher availability. Numbers for Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut indicate a weaker market for load availability.

 

Hornady Transportation merges with Daseke Inc.

For the second time in nearly a month, a carrier has merged with Daseke Inc. Hornady Transportation has announced its merger with Daseke. Bulldog Hiway Express announced its merger in early July.

Based in Monroeville, Ala., Hornady has a fleet of 230 late-model tractors and 325 flatbed trailers. Hauling material for the building products and steel industries, Hornady operates mostly east of the Rocky Mountains. With a terminal in Birmingham, the company was founded in 1928 by G.E. Hornady. Chris Hornady is currently running the company and is the third generation of leadership.

Daseke is the largest owner of flatbed, open-deck and specialty trucking capacity in North America with more than 3,000 tractors and 6,000 trailers. Smokey Point Distributing, E.W. Wylie, J. Grady Randolph, Central Oregon Truck Co., Lone Star Transportation and the Boyd companies have also merged with Daseke.

 

Mack offers new prepaid maintenance plans

Mack has recently announced a new option to purchase prepaid preventive maintenance plans. The maintenance plans are based on the revised service intervals.

Mack models 2011 and newer powered by MP7, MP8 or MP10 engines are eligible for the new maintenance plans. Three different plans are available. Everything from oil changes to 74-point inspections to exhaust aftertreatment system services are available in the various plans.

Customers will get present-day parts and labor rates when purchasing the prepaid maintenance plan. In addition, the duration of the maintenance plan can be customized to the purchaser’s needs. Mack Premium Maintenance Plan owners can quickly schedule maintenance by contacting Mack’s 24/7 service and support network, Mack OneCall.

The new service intervals for engine oil and filter changes, announced in March, increased by 10,000 miles to 45,000 miles for long haul; 35,000 miles for regional haul; and 25,000 miles for heavy haul. Service intervals for diesel particulate filters have been extended to 400,000 miles for long- and regional-haul applications from 250,000 miles.

Prepaid maintenance plans can be purchased through any Mack dealership in the United States and Canada. For more information, visit MackTrucks.com.

 

More trucking jobs added in July, wages up in transportation industry

July marked the sixth consecutive month of job gains for the transportation sector. After a significant job increase in June, the truck transportation subsector had a modest increase of jobs in July.

The transportation sector gained more than 14,000 jobs in July, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The truck transportation subsector experienced moderate gains of nearly 3,000 jobs after the industry gained more than 7,000 in June and nearly 9,000 in May. Nearly 7,000 truck transportation jobs were lost in March, the only monthly decrease for the year, leaving a net gain for jobs for the year to date.

Trucks had the second-largest increase within the transportation sector. Transit and ground passenger transportation had an increase of more than 3,000. Only two subsectors experienced losses in July: Water and rail transportation lost 600 and 300 jobs, respectively.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.80 for July, up 8 cents from June, the first month-to-month increase since February. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 11 cents to $20.77. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $24.99, a 5-cent increase. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.1 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.9 percent from 7.7 percent last July. The overall unemployment rate for the country remained unchanged at 5.3 percent. The number of long-term unemployed also saw little change compared with the previous month at 2.2 million. However, that number has decreased by 986,000 in the past 12 months.

 

New Goodyear Tire and Service Centers in Washington and Virginia

Good news for trucks on either side of the country. Goodyear has opened two new Commercial Tire and Service Centers: one in Washington State and one in Virginia.

Seattle, Wash., and Chesapeake, Va., join several other locations that have recently opened new Commercial Tire and Service Centers across the nation. Dearborn, Mich., Montgomery, Ala., and Garland, Texas, also have new Goodyear centers.

The new centers will include new Goodyear, Dunlop and Kelly truck tires, including Goodyear retreads. Goodyear Fleet HQ 24/7 Emergency Roadside Service will also be available at the new locations, as will tire balancing and other services.

Seattle’s new Commercial Tire and Service Center is located at 9426 8th Ave. South. Chesapeake’s new location can be found at 3912 Holland Blvd.

 

Celadon agrees to pay $200K to settle EEOC lawsuit

Celadon Trucking Services Inc. will pay $200,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Indianapolis-based trucking carrier was sued by the EEOC on behalf of 23 former Celadon applicants, who will receive monetary damages as a result of the suit, the agency announced Tuesday, Aug. 4.

The EEOC initially filed a complaint against Celadon in February 2012, alleging unlawful employment practices under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The complaint states that Celadon violated the ADA by maintaining policies and practices which subjected applicants to pre-offer disability-related inquiries and examinations. The inquiries and examinations were made by Celadon despite the fact that the applicants had not yet been offered jobs. According to the EEOC, at least two of the applicants were denied jobs based on their disabilities, despite the fact that both applicants were fully qualified to drive trucks.

The inquiries and examinations occurred during driver orientation programs, and included vision and hearing screenings, blood and urine tests, blood pressure checks and other cardiovascular examinations. In addition, applicants were also requested to provide medical histories and lists of medications they had been prescribed.

Some of the applicants were rejected for being hard of hearing, while another was reportedly not hired due to being on blood thinner medication, according to the complaint filed by EEOC.

“These inquiries proximately and legally resulted in tangible harm to qualified applicants who met the standards for truck drivers set forth by the Department of Transportation/Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, including rejection for hire based on information obtained from these impermissible pre-offer disability-related inquiries,” attorneys for the EEOC wrote in the complaint.

Along with the monetary damages, the settlement requires that the company train its management employees on disability discrimination, post a notice of non-discrimination at its work site, submit annual reports detailing its compliance with the decree, and furnish other non-monetary relief, including inviting qualified class members to attend the company's driver orientation program. The terms of the consent decree last for five years.

The agreement also requires Celadon to “cease reporting false information on the DAC and/or HireRight reports” and to request the removal of all false information about the 23 members of the class that the company supplied to those websites.

 

August marks one month of falling average spot market rates

For the fourth consecutive week, spot rate averages for freight were down across the board for the week ending Saturday, Aug. 1. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates went down a penny to $1.82. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.23, unchanged from the previous week. Rates for the month of July were down 2.7 percent from the previous month and declined 11 percent since July 2014. Load-to-truck ratios increased by 6.25 percent to 1.7 loads per truck. For the first time this year, no states have a load-to-truck ratio of 5.5 or greater. 

Reefer rates were reduced by 2 cents to $2.13. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.63, unchanged compared to the week prior. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates at $1.54. Compared with July 2014, reefer rates are down 9 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went up 2 percent to 4.2 loads per truck. Three states – New Mexico, Arizona and Delaware – have a ratio of 12 or more, one more than the previous week.

Flatbed rates declined by a penny to $2.13. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.29, a steep decline of 63 cents from the week before. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.89. Rates are down 2.7 percent for the month and 12 percent in the past 12 months. There were 14.5 loads per truck for flatbeds, an increase of 10 percent from the previous week. Only 14 states have a load-to-truck ratio of 18 or more, slightly less than half the amount from the prior week. Most of the states that dropped below 18 loads were east of the Mississippi River.

 

Truck Tank offers opportunity for entrepreneurs to sell their ideas at GATS

Truckers with a great idea will have an opportunity to pitch their business plan and win money toward an investment. Commercial Fleet Financing Inc. will be hosting Truck Tank at the Great American Trucking Show (GATS) in Dallas. Texas.

Taking a cue from “Shark Tank” – a television show where entrepreneurs sell their ideas to investors – Truck Tank will feature a hand-selected panel of industry investors. Transportation entrepreneurs can pitch an invention or idea that benefits the industry to the panel.

The winner of Truck Tank will be awarded at least $5,000 in investments from Commercial Fleet Financial and one year of business coaching from Bethany Williams. Host of “Home Made Money” on CFFNation, Williams is an executive, coach and author of several books, including “CEO of You” and “Live Your Dreams.”

The contest will be held on Aug. 28 at 1-3 p.m. in the Recruiting Pavilion. For more information on how to register for Truck Tank, visit cffnation.com/trucktank/.

Located at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, GATS is scheduled for Aug. 27-29. Admission is free if registration is done online. Otherwise, tickers will be $10 at the door. Truck beauty competitions, education seminars and live entertainment will be available all weekend within 500,000 feet of exhibit space.

For more information and ticket pre-order for GATS, visit truckshow.com.

 

Women In Trucking plan expo next month in Dallas

The event that Women In Trucking is calling Accelerate! Conference and Expo is on the industry’s calendar next month. The event is planned for Sept. 20-22 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas.

Educational sessions include a look at transportation and the U.S. economy with Lee Klaskow, senior analyst with Bloomberg Research. Race car driver Jennifer Jo Cobb will be the keynote speaker. Her topic is “setting and Reaching Goals through Adversity.” An additional keynote speech comes from Daphne Jefferson, deputy administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Association. She plans to provide insights on today’s regulatory and legislative issues and FMCSA’s position.

Registration is $450 (WIT members) and $495 for non-members. For more information, go to WomeninTrucking.org.

 

NHTSA hands out $35 million fine to Forest River Inc.

Just one week after handing Fiat Chrysler the administration’s largest fine to date, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has dished out another stiff penalty. Forest River Inc. will have to pay a civil penalty of $35 million for violations of the Safety Act.

Forest River Inc., located in Elkhart, Ind., is a large manufacturer of RVs, pontoons, cargo trailers, and other recreational vehicles. It’s parent organization is Berkshire Hathaway.

According to documents filed by the Office of Defects Investigation, the civil penalty consists of a cash penalty of $5 million and stipulated penalties. Forest River must retain an independent monitor for audits of compliance. Additionally, several performance obligations must be met, including an in-house consultant and remedies for past noncompliance.

If audits reveal failure to resolve issues outlined in the Consent Order, Forest River will have to pay portions of the stipulated civil penalties.

Opened last September and closed last Saturday, the ODI investigation found that Forest River violated the following Safety Act regulations:

  • Failed to submit accurate early warning reports.
  • Failed to file certain field communications or reports of Canadian safety campaigns.
  • Did not provide copies of notices, bulletins and other communications as required.
  • Failed to file certain quarterly recall reports in a timely manner.
  • Sent notices to dealers without required information.
  • Failed to submit communications to manufacturers, dealers, owners and purchasers directly related to a defect or noncompliance.
  • Failed to notify vehicle owners and dealers of defects and noncompliance.
  • Did not timely notify NHTSA of safety-related defects within five days.
  • Failed to conduct timely recalls for Recalls 15V-080 and 15V-156.
  • Failed to respond to NHTSA’s Oct. 2, 2014, Special Order by the deadline.


ODI documents reveal that Recall No. 15V-080 applied to 2014 Rockwood and Flagstaff recreational vehicles equipped with the Chill Chaser option. Excessive foam insulation and loose wiring could touch the Chill Chaser heating element, increasing the risk of a fire. Recall No. 15V-156 dealt with 20014 Palomino SolAire trailers. Affected vehicles were built without an exterior furnace vent. Exhaust fumes could be vented inside the trailer, and heat buildup could cause a fire.

In the Special Order mentioned in the above violations, NHTSA warned Forest River that failure to respond fully or truthfully could lead to a referral to the Department of Justice for civil actions. The Special Order informed Forest Rivers that it could be subject to penalties up to $7,000 per day, up to a maximum penalty of $35 million. Falsifying or withholding information can also lead to a criminal penalty of a fine and/or imprisonment of up to 15 years.

 

UPS purchases Coyote Logistics for $1.8 billion

UPS has recently announced that it will acquire truckload freight brokerage company Coyote Logistics for $1.8 billion. Coyote CEO Jeff Silver will continue to lead the company as a UPS subsidiary.

Pending customary conditions and regulatory approvals, closing expected in less than 30 days. The new addition to UPS is expected to add to earnings in 2016.

Coyote Logistics was founded in 2006 and headquartered in Chicago. More than 6,000 loads per day are arranged for transport. Arrangements are made within its network of more than 35,000 trucking companies. In 2014, the company reported annual revenue of $2.1 billion.

UPS and Coyote are no strangers to one another. During the holiday season, UPS supplements its fleet with contract transport providers to meet demand. Coyote is one of the companies that UPS has relied on for such support.

 

New TA Truck Service opens in Columbia, S.C.

Truckers near Columbia, S.C., needing repairs will now have more options. TravelCenters of America has announced a new TA Truck Service facility located at 7400 Wilson Blvd. off of Exit 71 in Interstate 20.

Open 24/7 year round, the new truck service repair facility will feature two service bays. Trained ASE- and TIA-certified technicians will be available at the Columbia location as they are throughout the TA Truck Service network.

Drivers can take advantage of many services provided by the service, including light-duty repair, brakes, electrical, alignment, air conditioning, preventive maintenance, inspections and RoadSquad emergency road call services. Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear, Continental and Samson tires are also available.

For more information on TravelCenters, TA, and Petro Stopping Centers, visit www.ta-petro.com.

 

Commerce report from May: Lowest May values in four years

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports that in May trucks moved more than 60 percent of all the international freight, with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. 

The value of freight hauled across the borders was the lowest May value since 2011. All modes carried less freight when compared with last May.

Reduced value of mineral fuels led to a decrease in May 2015 U.S.-NAFTA trade flow as it has for previous months, according to BTS. Freight totaled $92.7 billion, down more than $600 million from the previous month.

Pipeline freight experienced the steepest decline at 45.4 percent, while air freight had the smallest decline at 2.4 percent. Truck freight was down 5.9 percent, the second-smallest decrease.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $60 billion of the $93.3 billion of imports and exports in May. Rail came in second with a contribution of nearly $15 billion. 

Nearly 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.9 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 5.3 percent compared with May 2014. Of the $43.8 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 70 percent of the loads.

 

Citizen Driver Award accepting nominations through September

Given everything that they do, truckers deserve to be recognized for their hard work. The TA and Petro Citizen Driver Award does just that, and anybody can nominate a trucker for the award. Nominations are being accepted now until Sept. 30.

A panel of judges composed of trucking professionals will focus on the following criteria when reviewing nominees: citizenship, safety, health and wellness, community and leadership. Qualifications are not limited to the above criteria.

In December, judges will choose the finalists and honorees. Distinguished finalists and honorees will each receive recognition and a package of various goods and services. Some will be selected to have their favorite TA and Petro location named after them, including plaques, name banners and a dedication ceremony. Winners will be announced at the 2016 Mid-America Truck Show.

To nominate a trucker for the Citizen Driver Award, visit the website.

Honorees for 2015 included:

  • OOIDA Life Member Rick Ash of Lakewood, Colo.
  • Gary Buchs of Colfax, Ill.
  • OOIDA Life Member Robert Fernald of Westbrook, Maine.
  • OOIDA Life Member Sandy Long of Marceline, Mo.
  • OOIDA Member Michael Sheeds of Bandera, Texas.

 

Average spot rates continue to decline for all three modes

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

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

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

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

 

Fiat Chrysler receives harshest penalty on record by NHTSA

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

More than one million Chrysler vehicles recalled over vulnerable software

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

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

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

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

Chrysler vehicles affected are:

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


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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Average rates and load-to-truck ratios are down for all three modes

For the second consecutive week, spot rate averages for freight were down across the board for the week ending Saturday, July 18. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates went down 2 cents to $1.85. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.32, 2 cents lower from the previous week. Rates for the month of June were up 1.1 percent from the previous month and declined 10 percent since June 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 16 percent to 1.7 loads per truck. Arkansas was the only state to have a ratio of 5.5 or greater. 

Reefer rates were reduced by 2 cents to $2.17. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.79. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates at $1.62. Compared with June 2014, reefer rates are down 8.6 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went down 21 percent to 3.9 loads per truck. Two states, New Mexico and Arkansas, have ratios of 12 or more.

Flatbed rates declined by a penny to $2.15. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.92. Phoenix marked a low rate of $2.01. Rates are up 0.5 percent for the month, but are down 9.9 percent in the past 12 months. There were 11.6 loads per truck for flatbeds, a decrease of 18 percent from the previous week. Slightly less than half of all states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

 

CARB announces $250,000 Navistar fine over DPF verification

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

EPA sues Navistar for $300 million in penalties

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Navistar is no stranger to legal battles.

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

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

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

 

Average spot market rates down for all three modes

Spot rate averages for freight were down across the board for the week ending Saturday, July 11. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates went down 2 cents to $1.87. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.35, unchanged from the previous week. Rates for the month of June were up 1.1 percent from the previous month and declined 10 percent since June 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 17 percent to 2.0 loads per truck. Arkansas was the only state to have a ratio of 5.5 or greater.

Reefer rates were reduced by 3 cents to $2.19. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.75. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates at $1.82. Compared with June 2014, reefer rates are down 8.6 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went down 22 percent to 5.0 loads per truck. Two states, New Mexico and Arkansas, have ratios of 12 or more.

Flatbed rates declined by 2 cents to $2.16. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.92. Phoenix marked a low rate of $2.01. Rates are up 0.5 percent for the month, but are down 9.9 percent in the past 12 months. There were 14.2 loads per truck for flatbeds, a decrease of 15 percent from the previous week. Slightly less than half of all states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

 

Goodyear opens three new Commercial Tire and Service Centers

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

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

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

 

More than 40,000 people attended Walcott Truckers Jamboree

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

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

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

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

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

 

Trucks help boost freight in May

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Reefer and van average spot rates slightly up, flatbed down a penny

Spot rate averages for freight went up for two of three modes for the week ending Saturday, July 4. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates went up 2 cents to $1.89. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.35, 12 cents higher than the previous week. Rates for the month of June were up 1.1 percent from the previous month and declined 10 percent since June 2014. Load-to-truck ratios increased by 5.4 percent to 2.4 loads per truck. Arkansas was the only state to have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, down from three states from the previous week.

Reefer rates went up a penny to $2.22. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.75. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates at $1.82. Compared with June 2014, reefer rates are down 8.6 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went up 4.8 percent to 6.4 loads per truck. Two states – New Mexico and Arkansas – have ratios of 12 or more, two fewer from the week prior.

Flatbed rates declined by a penny to $2.18. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.92, a 44-cent increase when compared to the previous two weeks. Phoenix marked a low rate of $2.01, 10 cents higher than the previous week. Rates are up 0.5 percent for the month, but are down 9.9 percent in the past 12 months. There were 16.6 loads per truck for flatbeds, a decrease of 13 percent from the previous week. Slightly less than half of all states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

 

Bulldog Hiway Express merges with Daseke Inc.

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

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

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

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

 

Another strong month for transport jobs in June

June marked the fifth consecutive month of job gains for the transportation sector. After a significant job increase in May, truck transportation – a subsector – had another large injection of jobs in June.

The transportation sector gained more than 17,000 jobs in June, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The truck transportation subsector experienced a significant gain of more than 7,000 jobs after the industry gained nearly 9,000 in May and 2,000 in April. Nearly 7,000 truck transportation jobs were lost in March, the only monthly decrease for the year, leaving a net gain for jobs for the year to date.

With the truck transport exhibiting the highest gains, only one subsector, pipeline transportation, had a decrease in the job market for June with 200 fewer jobs.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.72 for June, down 7 cents from May. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased 4 cents to $20.63. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were unchanged at $24.95. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.0 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.9 percent from 7.5 percent last June. The overall unemployment rate for the country decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 5.3 percent. The number of long-term unemployed went down by 381,000 to 2.1 million in June when compared with May, and has decreased by 955,000 in the past 12 months.

 

Truck Check Up makes its debut at Boss Shop’s Grand Island location

Truck Check Up, an interactive, fuel-island based truck diagnostics station, is making its debut at Boss Shops, beginning with an open house event on July 8 and 9 at the Boss Shop Grand Island, Neb., location.  

TCU, which was introduced in March 2015 during the Mid-American Truck Show, is designed for use in heavy-duty trucks (Class 7-8). While fueling, drivers can connect a cable to their truck’s diagnostic port to start the scanning process. In just under one minute, TCU scans the entire tractor/trailer for diagnostic fault code information and provides a comprehensive vehicle health report.

Drivers can then purchase a printed Vehicle Health Report that provides of summary of issues found and actions required.  

 

Kenworth offers new 76-inch mid-roof sleeper

Truckers in the market for a new, lighter vehicle without sacrificing sleeper space may want to look into a Kenworth T680 or T880. Kenworth has announced that a 76-inch mid-roof sleeper is available for order with the two models.

With liquid bulk tankers, flatbed haulers and other loads notorious for heavy weights in mind, Kenworth’s new mid-sleeper offers a 100-pound weight reduction when compared with its 76-inch high-roof sleeper.

In addition to potential load increases with the weight savings, Kenworth also claims the mid-sleeper has less aerodynamic drag, resulting in a potential 5 percent fuel economy savings for certain applications.

The 76-inch mid-roof sleeper includes 6 1/2 feet of headroom, liftable lower bunk, optional upper bunk for team drivers, and side storage towers. The 12.9-liter Paccar MX-13 engine is standard with both the T680 and T880.

 

Chevron sweepstakes offers chance to win 2015 Ford F-250

Chevron Products Company has recently announced the 2015 Delo Pick-Up Your Truck Sweepstakes. Chevron is the maker of Delo oils, lubricants and coolants.

Running from July 1 to August 31, participants have the chance to win a 2015 Ford F-250 SRW 4x4 Crew Cab XLT diesel truck. Other prizes will also be awarded, including 10 first prize packages containing a Delo tool tote, Delo tool kit, Delo bobble head, Delo USB drive and a $50 Visa gift card.

The 2015 Delo Pick-Up Your Truck Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the United States and Canada who have reached the age of majority in their state, province or territory at the commencement of the sweepstakes on July 1, 2015. No purchase required to participate in the sweepstakes.

The sweepstakes can be accessed through Delo’s website or Facebook page.

 

Minor changes for average spot freight rates

Spot rate averages for freight failed to increase for the week ending Saturday, June 27. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates went down a penny to $1.87. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.23. Rates for the month of May were down 0.5 percent from the previous month and declined 6.6 percent since May 2014. Load-to-truck ratios increased by 11.6 percent to 2.3 loads per truck. Three states – Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates also went down 1 cent to $2.21. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.75, 3 cents higher than the previous week. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates at $1.82. Compared with May 2014, reefer rates are down 6 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went up 21 percent to 6.1 loads per truck. Four states have ratios of 12 or more, unchanged from the week prior.

Flatbed rates remained stagnant at $2.19. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.48, unchanged when compared to the previous two weeks. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.91. Rates are up 0.5 percent for the month, but are down 7.2 percent in the past 12 months. There were 19.0 loads per truck for flatbeds, a decrease of 7.9 percent from the previous week. Half of all states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

 

Navistar and GM to build medium-duty trucks

The business publication Forbes reports that industry sources think Navistar and General Motors are about to announce that they’ll partner to build Class 4 through 6 medium-duty trucks.

GM built medium-duty trucks for many years before its bankruptcy in 2009.

Navistar, the parent company of International Trucks, already makes medium-duty trucks but has been in a cost-cutting mode in recent years.

 

Apex Capital launches free load board

After gathering feedback from truckers, brokers and shippers, Apex Capital Corp has launched a new load board, NextLOAD.com, that offers free unlimited searching and free load posting.

Carriers and drivers can create free accounts to search for loads by city or state, equipment type, load size and date. With a 10-second refresh time, users will quickly find the newest and most relevant loads. NextLOAD.com users can also create filters with alerts that let them know when the loads they are looking for are posted.

Founded in 1995, Apex Capital Corp is a full-service freight factor that specializes in small to medium-sized trucking companies. Apex is a sponsor of OOIDA’s Business Education online series.

 

Band Together for SCF campaign now available for Natso members

The Band Together for SCF campaign was created in 2010. The idea was simple: to offer wristbands for $1 for one month and inform customers about the St. Christopher Trucker Development & Relief Fund, a not-for-profit designed to benefit truck drivers in need. 

The first year was a huge success. With the help of SCF’s founding participant, TravelCenters of America, the effort raised $211,125.  Each subsequent year has been more and more successful, raising a total of $1,268,085 to date and allowing the fund to help more than 1,200 drivers in need.

The 2015 Band Together for SCF is now open to any travel center operator who is a member of Natso, the national association representing truck stops and travel plazas. Each participating Natso member will be in charge of running their campaign, and assistance on how to get started is available. 

One of the first truck stops to step up is Sapp Bros. Travel Centers. Sapp Bros. recently announced it will host its first fundraising efforts for the St. Christopher Fund. Starting Aug. 1, die-cut donation cards will be available. Gray cards will be offered for a $1 donation, and gold cards will be a $5 donation. The fundraiser will run through Aug. 31 at all Sapp Bros. Travel Centers.

TravelCenter of Americas campaign will also run throughout the month of August. Tom Liutkus, vice president of marketing and public relations at TA and SCF Board president, said: “TA initially got involved with the SCF with the hopes of furthering the only organization we found that is exclusively devoted to helping professional truck drivers in need.  We’ve been able to do that successfully and we encourage other trucks stops to do the same.”

Drivers can donate $1 or more at TA and Petro sites and receive a commemorative wristband. The money goes to help truckers with financial hardships due to a medical condition. TravelCenters of America has provided support to the St. Christopher Fund since 2010 through its annual campaign plus through smaller collection efforts at tradeshows and employee events throughout the year. To date, TravelCenters has helped raise more than $1.4 million for the charity, which provides financial support to professional drivers without other means to fund prescription medications, living expenses and medical procedures.

Donations to the St. Christopher Fund can also be made directly at truckersfund.org.

 

Daimler acquires a share of Seattle-based company Zonar Systems

Daimler Trucks has recently invested in American electronic fleet management company Zonar Systems Inc. According to a press release, Daimler acquired a minority stake in the company.

The Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) long-term partnership with Zonar is part of a shared pursuit of “optimal transport logistics through intelligent connectivity.”

Since DTNA did not buy the company outright, Zonar will maintain its operations independently. DTNA President and CEO Martin Daum will hold a seat on the supervisory board to ensure the two companies’ shared vision is realized.

Although the purchased market share is a new development, the relationship between the two companies is not. Zonar and DTNA have been in a partnership for five years. Detroit Connect and Virtual Technician remote diagnostics systems have been developed as a result.

 

Commerce report from April: Freight down for all modes except air

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports that in April trucks moved more than 60 percent of all the international freight, with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. 

The dollar value of freight hauled across the borders was the lowest April value since 2012. All modes except air carried less freight when compared with last April.

Reduced value of mineral fuels led to a decrease in April 2015 U.S.-NAFTA trade flow as it has for previous months, according to BTS. Freight totaled $93.3 billion, down less than $3 billion from the previous month.

Only air freight experienced an increase in commodity value when compared with April 2014. Air freight had a growth at a rate of 3.0 percent. Truck and rail freight had the smallest decline at 0.9 percent. Pipeline freight decreased by 44.9 percent, the largest slide in April.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $60 billion of the $93.3 billion of imports and exports in April. Rail came in at second with a contribution of nearly $15 billion. 

Nearly 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.9 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 0.3 percent compared with April 2014. Of the $44.5 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 70 percent of the loads.

 

Chicago Skyway up for sale: Report

Looking to buy a toll road? The long-term lease of the Chicago Skyway has gone up for sale, according to Reuters. The news agency reports that Spanish toll road investor Ferrovial and Australian investor Macquarie are offering their stakes in the toll road for sale to the highest bidder.

Ferrovial is the parent company of Cintra.

Cintra and Macquarie leased the 8-mile toll road in 2005, paying the city of Chicago $1.83 billion for the right to collect tolls and maintain the roadway through 2104.

The Chicago Skyway was profitable in 2014 with revenue exceeding expenses by about $8 million.

 

Free hazmat transportation safety seminar on Aug. 11-12

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is hosting a free two-day hazmat Transportation Safety Multimodal Seminar on August 11 and 12 in New Orleans, La., at the Intercontinental Hotel.

Representatives from various Department of Transportation agencies and the United States Coast Guard will provide informational presentations regarding modal hazmat requirements and will be on hand to answer individual questions both days.  Presentations on the fundamentals of the 49 CFR, general hazmat transportation, transportation training & security, and legal updates and reviews as well as other modes will be provided.

To register, visit the website

 

Small drop across the board for average spot freight rates

Spot rate averages for freight dropped slightly for all three modes for the week ending Saturday, June 20. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates went down 2 cents to $1.88. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.15. Rates for the month of May were down 0.5 percent from the previous month and declined 6.6 percent since May 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 15 percent to 2 loads per truck. Three states – Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates dropped a penny to $2.22. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.72, four cents lower than the previous week. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates at $1.82. Compared with May 2014, reefer rates are down 6 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went down 7.8 percent to 5 loads per truck. Four states have ratios of 12 or more, unchanged from the week prior.

Flatbed rates also declined by a penny to $2.19. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.48, unchanged when compared to the previous two weeks. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.91. Rates are up 0.5 percent for the month, but are down 7.2 percent in the past 12 months. There were 20.6 loads per truck for flatbeds, a decrease of 23 percent from the previous week. Half of all states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

 

More than 10,000 veterans acquire CDL through skills test waiver program

Military personnel, both former and active, have been taking advantage of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Military Skills Test Waiver Program. To date, more than 10,000 veterans and active duty personnel have enrolled in the program.

Established in 2011, the waiver program helped approximately 6,000 former military personnel obtain a civilian CDL. In the last 12 months alone, approximately 4,000 more military service members are licensed to operate a commercial vehicle thanks to the program.

The FMCSA Military Skills Test Waiver Program allows for active duty or recently detached veterans who have at least two years of safe driving experience with a military truck or bus to waive the skills test necessary for acquiring a commercial driver’s license. By allowing the waiver, veterans can more smoothly transition to being civilian drivers while lowering costs for both the driver and state licensing agencies.

Alaska became the 50th state to participate in the program on June 27, 2014.

In addition to a one-year extension for all states, Virginia has rolled out an initiative to recognize state-issued Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) certificates acquired due to “limb impairment” as an equivalent to the federally-issued SPE. The SPE will allow these drivers to obtain an interstate commercial driver’s license. FMCSA is encouraging other states to adopt a similar equivalency program for SPEs.

Veteran and active military personnel can apply for the waiver program at FMCSA’s website.

 

Minimizer to live stream ChampTruck races on July 3-4

Trucks will be lining up at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on July 3-4 for the Meritor ChampTruck World Series and fans can watch it from the comfort of their home or even their own truck. Minimizer will be live streaming the race at minimizerracing.com.

Fans can log on to the website to watch the races during the Fourth of July weekend. Free tickets are also available on the website, while supplies last.

The Meritor ChampTruck World Series features Class 8 tractors with commercially available diesel engines. Renowned stunt driver, truck racer and OOIDA Member Mike Ryan has said that tractor racing has a big following in Europe, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. Check out Land Line Staff Writer Greg Grisolano’s interview with Ryan here.

According to its website, ChampTruck will hold 10 races that will crown a champion at an event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Nov. 1. Much like NASCAR, drivers will earn points in each of the races. Racing began on April 24 at the New Jersey Motorsports Park.

For more information and event schedules, visit the Meritor ChampTruck World Series website.

 

OOIDA to receive new tour truck at Walcott next month

The 36th annual Walcott Truckers Jamboree is slated for July 9-11 at the Iowa 80 Truckstop off of Exit 284 on I-80 in Walcott, Iowa.

Festivities begin at 10 a.m. on July 9 and exhibits will be open until 7 p.m. Spectators can marvel at a variety of Super Truck Beauty Contest participants until 9 p.m on Thursday and Friday and until 5 p.m. on Saturday. The Trucker Olympics will also be held throughout the weekend in the early afternoon hours.

In between checking out the Olympics and sweet rides, show goers can enjoy other exhibits plus the Iowa Pork Chop Cook-Out. Concerts will be performed by Lindsay Lawler, The Josh Abbott Band, and Natalie Stovall and The Drive. Carnival games and fireworks will also be part of the show.

This year, OOIDA will retire its current red, white and blue-themed “Spirit of the American Trucker” tour truck. On July 11 at Walcott, Western Star Truck Sales Inc. will present “Spirit” driver Jon Osburn with a new 5700XE truck. The new “Spirit” truck will feature a distinctive blue paint job emblazoned with Western Star’s Phantom Graphic package.

For more information, visit Walcott’s website or call 563-284-6961.

 

Texas surpasses California in spot reefer freight for first time

Texas has ousted California as the state with the highest spot reefer freight volume, according to industry analyst Mark Montague, DAT Solutions. This is the first time the Lone Star State has surpassed the Golden State in reefer freight volume during this time of year.

Texas had more reefer freight than the second- and third-place states combined. A combination of weather, innovative production and location has given Texas an advantage over the past several weeks.

Montague says more fruits and vegetables are being grown in the Rio Grande Valley. Cattle and meat packing industries in the western region of Texas added more reefer freight.

In addition to a boom in fruits and vegetables, Mexico has had a significant increase in its imports. Texas border towns such as El Paso and Laredo have become more accessible due to new highways and bridges in Mexico, taking business away from Nogales, Ariz. Reefer freight being inspected in Texas has a shorter trip to the Midwest and East Coast than it would from Arizona, Montague points out.

“Mexico, unlike the United States, is investing in its infrastructure,” Montague told Land Line. “They have spent many billions of dollars to build a new highway from the Pacific Coast of Mexico – which is their produce-growing region – to near Laredo, including one of the highest suspension bridges in the Western hemisphere.”

With reefer freight being a hot commodity in Texas, van freight availability in the Longhorn State is also on the rise. Montague mentions that since refrigerated freight pays more, truckers with a reefer trailer are putting their dry vans to the side. A map from DAT Solutions reveals that the Southern states with high reefer load-to-truck ratios – Arizona to Alabama – also have high load-to-truck ratios for van freights.

Another of California’s problems may be beyond its control: drought. According to the California Department of Water Resources, three consecutive years of unusually dry conditions have drained California’s three main water sources. The Sierra Nevada snowpack is at 14 percent normal levels, the two biggest reservoirs are at below 40 percent capacity, and aquifer levels have also declined. As a result, produce growth has dramatically decreased.

The USDA reported on June 14 that 85 percent of California’s topsoil moisture is rated short or very short, with 90 percent of subsoil moisture conditions rated short or very short.

Speaking of weather-related freight issues, Tropical Storm Bill struck parts of Texas earlier this week. Could the storm potentially have a negative impact on Texas’ crops? Montague doesn’t think so. In fact, he believes the opposite may occur.

“The meat-producing parts of Texas will probably have beneficial impact on grass, foliage, hay and the types of crops that livestock consume,” Montague said. “Severe weather hits a relatively small scope, and then you’ve got rain that goes all the way up to Dallas and Oklahoma.”

Montague cited severe weather in Colorado earlier this year, which resulted in an unusually high snowpack. Following the high levels of precipitation, the state began to see an increase in plant growth. Typically, severe weather in the warmer months does not affect freight trends. Outside of extreme cases like Hurricane Katrina, the effects are relatively minor.

Numbers indicating that Texas leads reefer freight volumes stems from DAT Solutions load board data and does not necessarily indicate that Texas is producing more refrigerated goods, Montague pointed out to Land Line. Produce delivery is often given to contract drivers and will not be reflected in DAT’s numbers.

 

Fontaine fifth wheels undergoing defect investigation

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a Preliminary Evaluation for approximately 6,000 Fontaine fifth wheels. A possible defect has already resulted in one fatal crash that killed two drivers.

According to an Office of Defects Investigation document, Fontaine’s Ultra LT fifth wheel may be susceptible to becoming partially closed during a trailer coupling process. Drivers who conduct a pull test to determine whether or not the lock is properly coupled to the king pin could be led to believe all components are in place when they are not.

Fontaine issued a Technical Service Bulletin about the condition on March 1, 2011. Technical Service Bulletins, or TSBs, recommend the best way to repair a vehicle’s possible defect that has been identified by the manufacturer. Unlike a recall, dealers are not obligated to call in vehicles, and repairs are not required to be free of charge.

After an ODI investigation was launched on April 15, 2011, more than 2,000 Freightliners and a few hundred Paccar, Volvo and Mack trucks were recalled. An equipment recall was not issued by Fontaine.

One year later, Fontaine sent out another TSB concerning another issue with the Ultra LT fifth wheel. As explained in the ODI document, “the operating lever in the fifth wheel could become bent to such a degree that the locking mechanism would not extend completely across the throat of the fifth wheel or seat fully behind the locking jaw.” Trailers could disconnect from the tractor as a result.

Fontaine discontinued production of the Ultra LT fifth wheel shortly after.

In January 2014, a trailer disconnected from a 2012 International ProStar using the Ultra LT fifth wheel, striking two vehicles and killing both drivers.

 

Average spot freight rates mostly unchanged

Spot rate averages for freight remained the same for two of three modes for the week ending Saturday, June 13. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates were unchanged at $1.90. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.15. Rates for the month of May were down 0.5 percent from the previous month and declined 6.6 percent since May 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 21 percent to 2.4 loads per truck. Three states – Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates also remained stagnant at $2.23. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.76, 6 cents higher than the previous week. Elizabeth, N.J., had the low rates of $1.89. Compared with May 2014, reefer rates are down 6.0 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went down 25 percent to 5.5 loads per truck. Four states have ratios of 12 or more, unchanged from the week prior.

Flatbed rates went up a penny to $2.20. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.48, unchanged when compared to the previous week. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.91. Rates are up 0.5 percent for the month but are down 7.2 percent in the last 12 months. There were 26.7 loads per truck for flatbeds, a decrease of 11 percent from the previous week. Half of all states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

 

What’s on your OOIDA business education playlist?

Since the OOIDA Foundation began making its business education classes available online, nearly 72,000 trucking viewers have expanded their business savvy by taking an OOIDA class on YouTube.

Andrew King, a researcher with the OOIDA Foundation, says that not all of those 72,000 are watching on their computer. Many are viewing the 20- to 30-minute programs via the latest trend, tablets. And here’s an interesting fact: As many as 30 percent have watched on their smartphone.

Since 2006, OOIDA has been involved with business education efforts that include educational classes for the small-business owner and the professional truck driver. During the past several years, the classes have been available online.

Dozens of classes are yours for the clicking – from buying equipment, costs of operations, truck insurance, getting your broker authority, pros and cons of per diem, new entrant safety audits, driver health, lifestyles, and law on the road. A list of the classes is available at ooidaonlineeducation.com.

The classes are free, thanks to sponsors like Road Law, Trucker Tax Service, Arrow Truck Sales, Howes Lubricator, DAT Solutions, Tire Retread and Repair Information Bureau, Taxation Solutions Inc., Find Truck Service, Team CME, AIA and Phoenix Sleep Solutions. Land Line Magazine is a sponsor, too, along with “Land Line Now” trucking radio.

The series does more than offer tips; it teaches.

“For a variety of different reasons, a vast majority of businesses fail within the first year of operating,” says OOIDA’s Tom Gann, host of the online programming.  

“If you are thinking about entering the trucking industry, switching from a company driver to an owner-operator, or just wanting to be a more successful business person,” says Gann, “we encourage you to check out our educational classes.”

Some are tailored to truckers who are leased to a motor carrier, some to owner-operators with their own authority. Some of the classes are general industry topics suitable for all professional drivers. Gann says the classes are also popular with the spouses or partners who are running the business back home.

Gann says among the most popular are the hours-of-service classes, a three-part series on dealing with the IRS, and the three-part series on load boards. Coming soon is a free five-part series that discusses the new CDL medical certification process.

This series is designed to help drivers understand and prepare for a DOT physical exam under the new rules.

  • Part 1 will be an overview of what it takes to get your medical certification card;
  • Part 2 will be a discussion of what you need to do to be prepared for the exam;
  • Part 3 will help you understand what you are going to be asked and, more importantly, point out why they are asking;
  • Part 4 will talk about the actual exam and how your medical history will be tied to the results;
  • Part 5 will cover the good and the bad. This part will tell you what’s next if you pass the exam and what you can do if you don’t pass.


You can find all of the OOIDA online education programs at ooidaonlineeducation.com or view many of the programs on our YouTube Channel by searching for OOIDA Business Education within YouTube.

 

Wyakin Warrior Foundation receives $50,000 donation from Meritor

Meritor Inc. recently announced that it will make a $50,000 donation to the Wyakin Warrior Foundation, according to a press release. The contribution aligns with Meritor’s 100-year tradition of supporting the United States military.

Based in Boise, Idaho, the Wyakin Warrior Foundation provides mentoring and financial assistance to veterans pursuing a degree. It costs $25,000 per veteran for the 60-month Wyakin Warrior program. Veterans enrolled in the program will receive education and financial assistance, attend monthly professional development seminars, build job skills, and acquire certification or a degree. All of the elements in the program will help participants in job placement.

According to the press release, more than 52,000 military personnel have been injured since 9/11. Veterans who have been the most severely injured are the prime focus of the foundation as they face the most difficulty in building a quality civilian life. The foundation is supporting 26 such veterans.

Staff Sgt. George Nickel of the U.S. Army Reserve’s 321st Engineer Battalion has completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology and is working toward a master’s degree to be completed next year. Nickel is currently the foundation’s Student and Veteran Affairs director and plans to become a social worker for veterans.

In February 2007, Nickels suffered a traumatic brain injury and eight serious fractures after being the lone survivor of a February 2007 attack on his vehicle in Iraq. Nickels was unable to return to the military or a civilian job and spent time eight months in jail after drinking heavily. After taking advantage of the Wyakin Warriors Foundation, Nickels was able to turn his life around.

In January, Meritor launched its “Shoes for Soldiers” campaign, which earmarked a percentage of its remanufactured brake shoe sales to the Wyakin Warrior Foundation. Meritor’s $50,000 contribution includes a $20,000 match from the Meritor Trust Fund.

Meritor, Inc. is a leading global supplier of drivetrain, mobility, braking and aftermarket solutions for commercial vehicle and industrial markets.

 

OOIDA members stand tall at 33rd Annual SuperRigs

Kiegan Nelson of Richfield, Wis., captured Best of Show honors with a 1985 Peterbilt 359 and 2014 Mac trailer, owned by OOIDA Member Vinnie Diorio, at the 33rd annual Shell Rotella SuperRigs competition held June 11-13 at Retama Park in Selma, Texas.

He was awarded $10,000 from Shell Rotella and $5,000 from Mac trailers. The winning truck also captured first place in the People’s Choice category, which is voted on by competitors and attendees during the event.

“It was an amazing experience to compete against all these trucks, and to come out on top is a great feeling,” said Nelson. “There were a lot of cool trucks here, and to take home the top title is incredibly surreal.”

OOIDA Member Phil Miller of Amargosa Valley, Nev., won Best of Show first runner-up, and $4,000 from Shell Rotella and $3,000 from Mac Trailer with his 2010 Peterbilt 389. He also won for Best Engine. Marciano Esparza Sandoval of Salinas, Calif. was awarded Best of Show second runner-up, plus $2,000 from Shell Rotella and $2,000 from Mac Trailer for his 1991 Peterbilt 379, owned by Ramon “Lil Ray” Rodriguez, a Land Line reader.

The Shell Rotella SuperRigs competition is the premier truck beauty contest for actively working trucks. Owner-operator truckers from across the United States and Canada compete for cash and prizes valued at approximately $25,000. Twelve drivers were also selected to have their truck featured in the 2016 Shell Rotella SuperRigscalendar.

First-place winners also included Bobby Delon of Von Ormy, Texas, in the Tractor/Trailer Division for his 2004 Peterbilt 379; Billy Griffin of Irving, Texas, in the Tractor Division with a 2011 Peterbilt 389; and OOIDA Member Daniel Snow and his wife Phyllis of Harrison, Ark., who won in the Classic Division with their 1996 Freightliner Classic XL. The Most Hardworking Trucker award went to OOIDA Senior Member Paul Rissler, of California, Mo., who drives a 1996 Peterbilt 379. All award winners also received MyMilesMatter points and a case of Shell Rotella engine oil. 

Hardworking truckers who couldn’t attend Rotella SuperRigs can enter the Shell Rotella Virtual SuperRigs contest through July 3 on Instagram. Just upload a picture of your rig on Instagram between now and July 3 with @ShellRotellaT and the hashtag #VSR2015Contest in the post for chance to win the grand prize of $500.

 

More than 100,000 Kenworth trucks recalled

Eleven models of Kenworth trucks from 2011-2016 have been recalled due to a water leak in the wiper motor, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

More than 100,000 Kenworth trucks manufactured from November 2010 to April 2015 are affected. A recall investigation found that water was getting into the windshield wiper motor, causing the intermittent setting to fail. Visibility during weather with precipitation could be reduced and increase the chance of a crash. Corrosion and electrical shorts are also possible with the water leak, increasing the risk of a fire.

The following 2011-2016 Kenworth models have been affected:

  • 963 
  • C500 
  • C540 
  • C550 
  • T270 
  • T370 
  • T440 
  • T470 
  • T680 
  • T800 
  • W900


Notifications have not been scheduled as Paccar is still working on a solution to the issue. Owners can contact Kenworth customer service at 425-828-5000. The recall number is 15KWF. Owners can also call NHTSA at 888-327-4236 or visit safercar.gov.

 

Due Aug. 31: Form 2290 reminder

The IRS is no longer mailing out reminders for the Form 2290, so OOIDA’s Permits and Licensing Department is giving truck owners a heads up – it’s time to think about the federal highway use tax for heavy vehicles, also known as the HUT or HVUT tax. It’s that $550 fee you pay each year when you file an IRS Form 2290.

The tax year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. The balance due shown on the Form 2290 must be paid in full by the due date of the return. For trucks and other taxable vehicles in use during July, the Form 2290 and payment are due on Aug. 31. State governments are required to receive proof of payment of the federal heavy vehicle use tax as a condition of vehicle registration.

Fleets with 25 or more vehicles must pay online with the IRS. Smaller fleets still have the option of paying by check or money order, either mailed or walked into an IRS office. A lot of IRS offices no longer take those payments anymore, so it’s a good idea to call your local IRS offices before making a trip there to pay.

Although you can make this payment yourself, the Business Services staff at the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association provides a service for members to help them get the tax paid.

“For a service fee, OOIDA Permits and Licensing Department offers members the convenience and speed of filing the Form 2290s online,” said OOIDA’s Cathy Koncilia. 

Koncilia says the IRS is no longer mailing out reminders for the 2290.

In general, the federal heavy vehicle use tax applies to trucks, truck tractors and buses with a gross taxable weight of 55,000 pounds or more.

There is a change this year in computing tax when a vehicle is purchased from a private seller during the tax period. Call OOIDA Permits and Licensing staff or see page 5 of the Form 2290 instructions for details.  

 

Largest decline since January 2014 for April freight

The Freight Transportation Service Index decreased by 1.8 percent in April to 120.4 from 122.9 in March. April experienced a return to declines after March saw the only month-to-month increase for the year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Air and waterborne freight increased in April when compared with the previous month. However, truck and pipeline freight experienced large declines, bringing the index to a net loss.

April was the largest monthly decrease since last January when the index went down 2.5 percent. TSI has gone up 27.2 percent since April 2009, when the index was at a historic low of 94.6. Trucking freight received its third consecutive decline in the index.

Freight shipments are down 1.7 percent from March 2014, up 13.2 percent from five years ago, and up 6.5 percent from 10 years ago.

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

 

TravelCenters of America plans August fundraiser for truckers

The 2015 Band Together for the St. Christopher Fund campaign is scheduled to run during the month of August. Drivers can donate $1 or more at TA and Petro sites and receive a commemorative wristband. The money goes to help truckers with financial hardships due to a medical condition.

TravelCenters of America has provided support to the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund since 2010 through its annual campaign plus through smaller collection efforts at tradeshows and employee events throughout the year. To date, TravelCenters has helped raise more than $1.4 million for the charity that provides financial support to professional drivers without other means to fund prescription medications, living expenses and medical procedures.

Donations to the St. Christopher Fund can also be made directly at truckersfund.org

 

Average spot freight rates are up for all three modes

Spot rate averages for freight were up for all three modes for the week ending Saturday, June 6. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates increased by 5 cents to $1.90 after four weeks at $1.85. Los Angeles and Atlanta experienced rates as high as $2.17. Rates for the month of May were down 0.5 percent from the previous month and declined 6.6 percent since May 2014. Load-to-truck ratios increased by 20 percent to 3.0 loads per truck. Three states – Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates went up 4 cents to $2.23. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.70, 5 cents higher than the previous week. Elizabeth, N.J., had the low rates of $1.86. Compared with May 2014, reefer rates are down 6.0 percent. Load-to-truck ratios rose 39 percent to 7.3 loads per truck. Four states have ratios of 12 or more, unchanged from the week prior.

Flatbed rates went up a penny to $2.19. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.48, unchanged when compared to the previous week. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.91. Rates are up 0.5 percent for the month but are down 7.2 percent in the last 12 months. There were 30.0 loads per truck for flatbeds, an increase of 31 percent from the previous week. Half of all states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

 

Shell Rotella’s SuperRigs races into Texas this weekend

The 33rd Shell Rotella SuperRigs truck competition will be racing into Retama Park in Selma, Texas, June 11-13 with this year’s theme of “Thoroughbreds of Trucking.” Shell Rotella SuperRigs contestants and attendees will be able to see some of the best looking working trucks during the day and enjoy horse racing in the evening on Friday and Saturday nights. The racetrack, which hosts Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred Horse racing, is located near San Antonio, immediately off of I-35 at Exit 174-A. All Shell Rotella SuperRigs events are free and open to the public.

The Shell Rotella SuperRigs competition is the premier truck beauty contest for actively working trucks. Hard-working owner-operators from across the United States and Canada will compete for cash and prizes in excess of $25,000. Twelve drivers will be selected to have their trucks featured in the 2016 Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar. All entrants will be awarded with a gift package valued at more than $50, while supplies last.

This year’s Shell Rotella SuperRigs truck competition will also feature fun, interactive and entertaining events for drivers and their families each day and night including games, classic car clubs, BBQ cook-off, a vendor area and the Shell Rotella Road Show. Game competitions will take place in the “Cool Zone” and will include the Corn Hole Toss competition on Saturday, as well as the Shell Rotella Truck Yard contest, which will challenge contestants to a remote control tractor-trailer race.

On Thursday evening, attendees will be treated to the annual Shell Rotella SuperRigs truck light show, followed by a free live country music concert featuring Texas musician Phil Pritchett and his British Invasion hits.

The BBQ cook-off will begin on Friday, where avid BBQ enthusiasts and grillers will compete for the honor of the best barbecue at the 2015 Shell Rotella SuperRigs truck competition. Contestants’ dishes will also serve as a free BBQ lunch to both attendees and contestants alike. Shell Rotella SuperRigs attendees can spend Friday night at the annual truck parade on the Retama Park race track, followed by a fireworks show and a country concert performed by Phil Pritchett.

Check out Pritchett performing on the Shell Rotella Facebook page.

Shell Rotella SuperRigs judging will conclude at 12 p.m. on Saturday and the awards ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. Judging for the BBQ cook-off will be held on Saturday afternoon, as well.

Shell Rotella SuperRigs highlights: 

  • San Antonio-based Texas Chrome Shop will display some of the custom working rigs they have created and will be available to greet attendees.
  • National Tractor Pullers Association champions Larry and Adam Koester and their Shell Rotella mini-modified tractors will attend and greet Shell Rotella SuperRigs attendees.
  • The Shell Rotella Road Show will be on-site, allowing spectators the opportunity to participate and engage in interactive programs, and learn more about the protection and support that they can expect from the entire Shell Rotella line of products.

Trucks entered in the Shell Rotella SuperRigs truck competition will be judged by industry professionals who work for major trucking publications or broadcast companies. Judges score the rigs on exterior appearance, design, detail/finish, originality and workmanship. In total, 24 working trucks receive awards for categories such as Best of Show, Tractor, Tractor-Trailer Combination and Classic.

Judging will take place between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, June 11-12, and between 9 a.m. and noon on Saturday, June 13. Land Line Magazine Managing Editor Jami Jones is back judging again this year. Judging takes about 20 minutes and contestants do not need to be present to win. The awards ceremony will take place at 2:30 pm on Saturday, June 13.

The vendor pavilion area will feature a variety of vendors, presenting contestants the opportunity to learn more about their products. Vendors in attendance include MAC Trailer, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Big Idaho Potato Truck, Texas Chrome Shop and more.

For updates about the Shell Rotella SuperRigs truck competition and Shell Rotella products, visit Rotella.com and follow Shell Rotella on Facebook at Facebook.com/ShellRotella, on Twitter at Twitter.com/ShellRotella and Instagram at Instagram.com/ShellRotellaT. The social media hashtag for the event is #SuperRigs.

 

Significant gains in May for truck and transport jobs

May marked the fourth consecutive month of job gains for the transportation sector. After suffering a significant job loss in March and minor gains in April, truck transportation – a subsector – had significant gains in May.

The transportation sector gained more than 13,000 jobs in April, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The truck transportation subsector experienced a significant gain of nearly 9,000 jobs after the industry lost nearly 7,000 jobs In March. Nearly 2,000 truck transportation jobs were added in April.

Truck transport exhibited the highest gains with an addition of nearly 9,000 jobs. Only three of 10 subsectors showed losses with “support activities for transportation” losing the most with 1,100 fewer jobs.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.84 for May, up 8 cents from April. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 10 cents to $20.76. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries increased 8 cents to $24.96. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.3 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 7.0 percent from 8.2 percent last May. The overall unemployment rate for the country made little change at 5.5 percent. The number of long-term unemployed remained relatively stagnant for May, but has decreased by 849,000 in the past 12 months.

 

Average spot freight rates reveal minor changes

Spot rate averages for freight were up, down and unchanged for the three modes for the week ending Saturday, May 30. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates remained stagnant at $1.85 for the fourth consecutive week. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.09, also unchanged from the previous week. Rates for the month of May were down 0.5 percent from the previous month and declined 6.6 percent since May 2014. Load-to-truck ratios increased by 5.5 percent to 2.5 loads per truck. Three states – Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, three fewer than the previous week.

Reefer rates went up a penny to $2.19. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.65, unchanged from the previous week. Elizabeth, N.J., had the low rates of $1.83. Compared with May 2014, reefer rates are down 6.0 percent. Load-to-truck ratios fell 12.5 percent to 5.2 loads per truck. Four states have ratios of 12 or more, two fewer than the week prior.

Flatbed rates dropped a penny to $2.18. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.48, a 50-cent drop when compared to the previous week. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.91. Rates are up 0.5 percent for the month but are down 7.2 percent in the last 12 months. There were 22.9 loads per truck for flatbeds, an increase of 17 percent from the previous week. Half of all states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

 

Two new CNG stations open in Texas

Two new compressed natural gas (CNG) stations have opened in Texas, according to amp Trillium, a joint venture between Trillium CNG and ampCNG.

The new stations are located off Interstate 20 in Brock, Texas, and I-10 in Kerrville, Texas. Open to the public, the stations will service all CNG vehicles. Three Class 8 trucks are able to fuel simultaneously at 10-12 diesel gallon equivalents per minute.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, there are 832 public CNG stations and only 73 liquefied natural gas (LNG) stations in the U.S. at the present time. 

In a 2013 report, natural gas engine engineering company Westport projected that approximately 150 LNG stations would be needed to cover all of the major interstate trucking routes at 300-mile intervals. Back in March, Shell opened new LNG lanes at two TravelCenters of America locations.

 

Commerce report from March: First month-to-month increase since October

The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that in March trucks moved more than 60 percent of all the international freight, with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. 

Freight totaled $96.1 billion, the first increase when compared to the previous month since last October and the largest total since last November, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Freight flows are down 5.3 percent when compared with March 2014.

Three of five modes experienced an increase in commodity value when compared with March 2014. Air freight had the highest growth at a rate of 6 percent. Rail increased by 1.5 percent and truck cargo increased 0.9 percent. Pipeline and vessel freight decreased by 41.6 and 30.3 percent, respectively, leading to the net value loss compared with a year ago.

Trucks were responsible for $61.5 billion of the $85.7 billion of imports and exports in March. Rail came in at second with a contribution of more than $14 billion.

More than 58 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.7 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 15.7 percent compared with March 2014. Of the $45.2 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 70 percent of the loads.

 

Stemco-ATDynamics claims GreenTail is patent infringement

Stemco, an EnPro Industries company, has announced that its subsidiary ATDynamics filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction against Ridge Corp. in the United States District Court for the Central District of California on May 19, 2015.

ATDynamics has asked the court to enjoin Ridge Corp. from making or selling the GreenTail aerodynamic device on the basis that the GreenTail infringes on at least 30 claims from Stemco-ATDynamics’ extensive patent portfolio. Those patents include TrailerTail products.

“We invest substantial resources into developing innovative and effective drag-reducing technologies for our customers,” said Bob Montgomery, vice president of the Innovative Tire & Mileage Solutions Group for Stemco.  

Stemco-ATDynamics has engaged attorneys Timothy Carroll and Kourtney Merrill of Perkins Coie to handle the case.

 

Average freight spot rates starting to show minor improvement

Spot rate averages for freight were up slightly for two of three modes for the week ending Saturday, May 23. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates remained stagnant at $1.85 for the third consecutive week. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.09, 5 cents higher than the previous week. Rates for the month of April were down 3.6 percent from the previous month and declined 7.5 percent since April 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 2.6 percent to 2.3 loads per truck. Six states have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates went up a penny to $2.18. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.65, reclaiming its price edge from Lakeland, Fla., from the previous week. Elizabeth, N.J., had the low rates of $1.83. Compared with April 2014, reefer rates are down 7.0 percent. Load-to-truck ratios remained unchanged at 6.0 loads per truck. Six states have ratios of 12 or more, unchanged from the week prior.

Flatbed rates also went up a penny to $2.19. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.98. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.77. Rates are down 0.9 percent for the month and 7.3 percent in the last 12 months. There were 19.6 loads per truck for flatbeds, a decrease of 0.7 percent from the previous week. More than half of states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

 

Daimler trucks added to Takata airbag recall list

Daimler Truck North America has been added to the laundry list of manufacturers affected by the Takata airbag recall. Daimler Trucks claims the number of affected trucks is small.

As of press time, the scope of Daimler trucks to be recalled – including model and number of units – is unknown. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document names Daimler Trucks North America as one of eight manufacturers that installed 7.7 million Takata airbags. The document notes that although Takata knows the number sold to each manufacturer, the company is unaware how many were installed in vehicles sold and registered in the United States.

Daimler’s recall notice was the second of four notices regarding the Takata airbags. The first recall included more than 17 million vehicles. Since then the number of vehicles affected has doubled to 34 million.

Official recall documents reveal that Takata airbags are susceptible to ejecting shards of metal fragments once activated. Metal projectiles could lead to injury and death. Six deaths have been blamed on the airbag defect.

Drivers who suspect their vehicle may be subject to the recall should visit safercar.gov to check VINs for possible recalls. Owners can also call the National Highway Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236.

 

Mack employees to join Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom

In honor of fallen soldiers this Memorial Day weekend, Mack Trucks employees will team up with the 28th annual Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom rally, which will culminate in Washington, D.C., May 22-24.

Each year during the Memorial Day weekend, hundreds of thousands of motorcycles make the journey to the nation’s capital from all across the United States. Established in 1987, the rally was started to bring more attention to the Rolling Thunder’s call to find more POW/MIAs in past conflicts. The rally has grown from approximately 2,500 in 1988 to more than 500,000 in 2013.

Employees from the Mack Customer Center, which is located in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, will go to Mack’s powertrain plant in Hagerstown, Md., for a special ceremony. Attendees will travel by truck and motorcycle. From there, Mack employees will join the Ride for Freedom rally.

A Mack Pinnacle Axle Forward Rawhide Edition will be used for the tribute truck. The truck features custom graphics celebrating each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, elements of the American flag, and the motto, “A Beacon of Hope to All.”

 

Continental Tire named tire sponsor for ChampTruck racing series

Continental Tire has been named the official tire sponsor of the Meritor ChampTruck series. ChampTruck is a competitive truck racing event, founded by OOIDA Member and stunt driver Mike Ryan and his partners.

All trucks in this year’s ChampTruck series will use the Continental HSR2 tread pattern. Continental Tire research and development engineers teamed up with ChampTruck drivers to test tires best suited for racing, Continental Tire Director of Marketing Alex Chmiel said in a press release.

The Meritor ChampTruck World Series features Class 8 tractors with commercially available diesel engines. Ryan has said that tractor racing has a big following in Europe, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. Check out Land Line Staff Writer Greg Grisolano’s interview with Ryan here.

According to its website, ChampTruck will hold 10 races that will crown a champion at an event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Nov. 1. Much like NASCAR, drivers will earn points in each of the races. Racing began on April 24 at the New Jersey Motorsports Park.

For more information and event schedules, visit the Meritor ChampTruck World Series website.

 

Power Service Products to build new 100,000-square-foot facility

Diesel fuel additives manufacturer Power Service Products has announced plans to build an additional 100,000-square-foot bulk storage and blending facility, according to a press release. The decision was based on increased customer demand.

Power Service Products’ manufacturing and storage facilities, testing and research laboratory, and corporate offices are all located on a 42-acre site in Weatherford, Texas. Completion of the announced facility is slated for March 2016.

Power Service Products has been around since 1956 and is third generation family- and veteran-owned. Products are available at truck stops and automotive retailers across the country.

 

Average freight spot rates at a standstill

Spot rate averages for freight were mostly unchanged for the week ending Saturday, May 16. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates remained stagnant at $1.85. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.04, reclaiming its top spot for high rates from Atlanta. Rates for the month of April were down 3.6 percent from the previous month and declined 7.5 percent since April 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 13.9 percent to 2.4 loads per truck. Six states have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates went up a penny to $2.17, the only increase for the week. Lakeland, Fla., rates were as high as $2.56, surpassing typically higher rates in Green Bay. Elizabeth, N.J., had the low rates of $1.78. Compared with April 2014, reefer rates are down 7.0 percent. Load-to-truck ratios increased by 1.9 percent to 6.0 loads per truck. Six states have ratios of 12 or more, unchanged from the week prior.

Flatbed rates went unchanged at $2.18. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.98. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.77. Rates are down 0.9 percent for the month and 7.3 percent in the last 12 months. There were 19.8 loads per truck for flatbeds, a decrease of 4.0 percent from the previous week. More than half of states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

 

Run For The Wall riders are D.C. bound

Three large groups of motorcyclists were eastbound on different highways in New Mexico Friday, May 15, on day 3 of the annual Run for the Wall.

More than 700 bikers are riding from California to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., to honor all military veterans – and especially those who were killed in action or are missing.

OOIDA Member David Talley says when his group rolled into Gallup, N.M., on Thursday, the town turned out.

“We got off and paraded through town and went all the way up to Red Rock, and it’s a 15-mile trip,” Talley said. “And there were flags about every 100 feet. It was awesome.”

The bikers expect to reach Washington next Friday, May 22, and will be joined by other riders for a procession called “Rolling Thunder.” 

 

Improving weather yields positive March results for all freight

The Freight Transportation Service Index increased by 1.7 percent in March to 122.9 from 120.9 in February. March marks the first increase after three consecutive months of decreases, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

TSI’s growth of 0.2 percent for the first quarter of 2015 was the smallest quarterly increase since the third quarter of 2012, not counting the decline in the second quarter of 2014. Unusual extreme weather in parts of the country is partly responsible for lack of significant growth.

Despite a minor quarterly increase, March was the largest monthly increase since last July. TSI has gone up 29.9 percent since April 2009, when the index was at a historic low of 94.6. Trucking freight received its second consecutive decline in the index.

Freight shipments are up 1.7 percent from March 2014, up 16.7 percent from five years ago, and increased by 9.5 percent from 10 years ago.

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

 

Make-A-Wish convoy raises more than $300,000

Hundreds of truckers showed up in Lancaster, Pa., on Mother’s Day for the 26th annual Make-A-Wish Mother’s Day Truck Convoy. A total of 380 trucks drove in and raised more than $300,000 for the Philadelphia, Northern Delaware and Susquehanna Valley chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

With 45 more trucks than last year’s convoy, participants brought in enough donations to grant wishes for approximately 30 children. Since truckers have until June 15 to turn in their pledges, the exact amount raised is to be determined.

Back in 1990, a 12-year-old named Matt wished to ride in a truck and speak with his sister on a CB radio. Approximately 40 trucks showed up to grant Matt his wish. In a press release sent out before this year’s convoy, Make-A-Wish expected more than 250 trucks to participate.

In addition to raising money and awareness, approximately 100 Make-A-Wish children rode along in the convoy. Pictures of children who have been helped by the charity were used to decorate many of the trucks. Approximately 6,000 spectators were spread across the route that ran 28 miles.

This year’s convoy was sponsored by RoadPro, which donated $20,000 to the foundation.

 

Signs of improvement for latest average spot market freight rates

Spot rate averages for freight went up for two of three modes for the week ending Saturday, May 9. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates suffered the only loss at a 1-cent decline to $1.85. Atlanta experienced rates as high as $2.07, surpassing the typically higher rates in Los Angeles. Rates for the month of April were down 3.6 percent from the previous month and declined 7.5 percent since April 2014. Load-to-truck ratios increased 12 percent to 2.8 loads per truck. Six states have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates went up 4 cents to $2.16, after staying at $2.12 for three weeks. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.55. Elizabeth, N.J., had the low rates of $1.80, and a 12-cent decrease from the previous week. Compared with April 2014, reefer rates are down 7.0 percent. Load-to-truck ratios increased by 6.2 percent to 5.9 loads per truck. Six states have ratios of 12 or more, unchanged from the week prior.

Flatbed rates went up a penny to $2.18. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.98. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.77. Rates are down 0.9 percent for the month and 7.3 percent in the last 12 months. There were 20.6 loads per truck for flatbeds, a slight decrease from 20.8 the previous week. More than half of states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

 

Daimler will skip MATS in 2016

Daimler Trucks North America will not attend the Mid-America Trucking Show in 2016. Dave Giroux, head of corporate communications and public relations, confirmed this week that DTNA intends to return to the MATS in 2017 and attend the show every other year thereafter. 

The show is the largest annual heavy-duty trucking event in the world. It’s held every spring at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville.

Giroux stated by email to Land Line that DTNA expects to engage in an ongoing dialogue with MATS show management and industry leaders to discuss how to further supplement the show with additional activities for the collective benefit of original equipment manufacturers, suppliers and customers.

DTNA is the parent company of Freightliner and Western Star trucks and Detroit Diesel.

 

Trucking jobs increase after a month of huge losses

April marked the third consecutive month of job gains for the transportation sector. After suffering a significant job loss in March, truck transportation – a subsector – had some gains in April.

The transportation sector gained more than 15,000 jobs in April, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The truck transportation subsector showed a relatively moderate gain of nearly 2,000 jobs after the industry lost nearly 7,000 jobs the month prior. Approximately 2,600 truck transportation jobs were added in February. Trucking jobs gained a moderate amount compared to other subsectors in the transportation and warehousing subsector.

The “support activities for transportation” exhibited the highest gains with an addition of nearly 5,000 jobs. Only two subsectors showed losses with “transit and ground passenger transportation” losing 400 jobs and water transportation losing 100 jobs.

April’s transportation job gain is much larger than March, which saw a gain of 9,500. February had a gain of 18,500, the largest increase in more than a year.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.76 for April, down 8 cents from March. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased 10 cents to $20.66. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries increased 3 cents to $24.87. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.2 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.1 percent from 8.0 percent last April. The overall unemployment rate for the country made little change at 5.4 percent. The number of long-term unemployed remained relatively stagnant for April, but has decreased by 888,000 in the past 12 months.

 

2015 truck shows are on the calendar

There are many upcoming truck shows, and Land Line has gathered up some of them for 2015.

Make sure to bookmark Land Line’s Industry Calendar for new shows and updates. Is the list missing a show? Contact Kerry Evans-Spillman at Kerry_Evans-Spillman@landlinemag.com

May
28-30 American Truck Historical Society National Convention & Antique Truck Show,
 York Expo Center, York, Pa. For more information, visit aths.org or call 816-891-9900.

June
5-7 Wheel Jam,
 Huron, SD. For more info go to wheeljamtruckshow.com or call Scot Marone at 605-354-2809 or Doug Flowers at 605-354-1324.

11-13 Shell Rotella SuperRigs, Retama Park, Selma, Texas. For more information, visit rotella.com.

19-21 NAST Great Lakes Truck Show
, Dundee, Mich. For more information, visit nastshowtrucks.org.

20 Down Home Truck Show,
 Humboldt, Neb. For more information, call Susie Shupp at 402-414-7021 or email jimshupp@hotmail.com.

20-21 ATHS Ohio Vintage Truck Jamboree,
 Ashland County Fairgrounds, Ashland, Ohio. For more information, call Bill Peters at 330-682-1707 or visit ohvintrkjam.com.

July
9-11 Walcott Truckers Jamboree,
 Iowa 80 Truckstop, Walcott, Iowa. For more information, visit iowa80truckstop.com or call 563-284-6961.

17-18 Fitzgerald Glider Kits,
 Crossville, Tenn. For more information, visit truckshow.com.

23-25 Southern West Virginia Class 8 Beauty Truck Show,
 Princeton Church of God, Princeton, W.V. For more information, call Robert Rosner at 304-960-9503.

24-25 Expedite Expo,
 Roberts Convention Centre, Wilmington, Ohio. For more information, visit expediteexpo.com.

31-Aug. 2 Color and Chrome Fantasy Truck Show, Ogallala, Neb. For more information, visit ccftruckshow.com.

August
6-9 Brockway Truck Show,
 Courtland, N.Y. For more information, visit brockwaytrucks.org.

14-16 NAST Eau Claire Big Truck Show,
 Eau Claire, Wis. For more information, visit nastshowtrucks.org.

27-29 Great American Trucking Show,
 Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas, Texas. For more information, visit gatsonline.com.

September
11-13 Richard Crane Memorial Truck Show
, St. Ignace, Mich. For more information, visit nastshowtrucks.org.

20-22 Women In Trucking’s Accelerate! Conference & Expo, Hilton Anatole, Dallas, Texas. For more information, visit womenintrucking.org.

 

Davenport Transport joins Lone Star Transportation

Two more companies within the trucking industry have merged. Davenport Transport and Rigging has joined Lone Star Transportation LLC, according to a Daseke press release. Daseke is the parent company of Lone Star Transportation.

Lone Star President and CEO Tex Robbins in the press release called Davenport one of the premier super-heavy transport companies in the country. David and Donnie Davenport have a combined 80 years of industry experience. Davenport Transport and Rigging began as Dave Davenport and Sons Trucking Co., which was started by their father in 1971.

Davenport will continue to operate super-heavy transport from its facility in Angleton, Texas. Beyond that, the terms of the merger were not announced.

Lone Star specializes in time-sensitive transportation of aerospace parts, renewable energy, building and construction materials, oil and gas equipment, and heavy equipment. More than 1,500 open-deck trailers and 500 tractors are driven by owner-operators.

 

Average spot market freight rates still declining

Spot rate averages failed to increase for all three freight modes for the week ending Saturday, May 2. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates dropped a penny to $1.86. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.07, unchanged from the previous week. Rates for the month of April were down 3.6 percent from the previous month and declined 7.5 percent since April 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased 2.8 percent to 2.5 loads per truck. Six states have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, one fewer than the week prior.

Reefer rates remained stagnant at $2.12 for the third consecutive week. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.54, a 17-cent decrease from the previous week. Elizabeth, N.J., had the low rates of $1.92. Compared with April 2014, reefer rates are down 7.0 percent. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 5.4 percent to 5.5 loads per truck. Six states have ratios of 12 or more, less than half the number of states the previous week.

Flatbed rates went down 2 cents to $2.17. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.98. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.77. Rates are down 0.9 percent for the month 7.3 percent in the last 12 months. There were 20.8 loads per truck for flatbeds, a slight increase from 20.7 the previous week. More than half of states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

 

Chevron Delo announces April 2015 Million Mile Club inductees

Delo engine oil manufacturer Chevron Products Company has announced the newest additions to the Chevron Delo sponsored Red Eye Radio Million Mile Club.

The Red Eye Radio Million Mile Club honors truck drivers in the United States and Canada with 1 million miles of accident-free driving. Each new member of the Million Mile Club will receive a personalized jacket provided by Chevron Delo, a membership card and a gift from participating sponsors.

The inductees for April 2015 are:

  • OOIDA Member Perry Adams, owner-operator, Vilas, N.C.
  • OOIDA Member Henry (Bud) Beck, Beck Transport, Romeo, Mich.
  • OOIDA Member Charles Johns, Long Haul Trucking, Oxford, Ala.
  • OOIDA Member Garrick Pitts, owner-operator, Conway, Ark.
  • Rochelle Gray, Frito Lay, Combine, Texas
  • Eduardo Velarde, Con-way Truckload, El Paso, Texas
  • Edgar Boyle, Pace Transportation, Plattsmouth, Neb.
  • Stephanie Klang, Con-way Truckload, Diamond, Mo.

Drivers can apply for the Million Mile Club at ChevronDelo.com/promotions.

 

Carlisle Truck Nationals featuring monster trucks on August 7-9

Heavy-duty, light-duty, dump trucks, even monster trucks. They can all be found Aug. 7-9 at this year’s Carlisle Truck Nationals at Carlisle Fairgrounds in Carlisle, Pa.

After a one-year hiatus, the monster truck and compact car-destroying Megasaurus is expected to return this year. Also returning is Megasaurus’ nemesis, Transaurus. A Mega Metal Monster Showdown looks to be in the making. Feeding times for the Monster trucks are slated for once on Friday and twice on Saturday.

Hall of Fame Monster Truck Competitor Diehl Wilson will be driving Virginia Giant, another legendary Monster truck. Also featured is Raminator, named the “World’s Fastest Monster Truck” by Guinness World Records.

The Big Rig Show and Shine is Aug. 8. Judging will take place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Proud owners will be displaying glistening and polished trucks while competing for top prizes. Other truck events include burnouts, high/low truck battle, low truck limbo, and a drop and drag contest.

In addition to the trucking events, showgoers can take advantage of the family entertainment at the Phantom Fun Zone, pedal karts, scavenger hunts and more. There will also be the swap meet and midway.

For more information, visit the website or call 717-243-7855.

 

UPS to add more LNG trucks to its fleet

UPS Freight has recently stated that it will add 64 liquefied natural gas (LNG) tractors to its fleet. Currently, UPS has more than 2,500 natural gas vehicles in its fleet.

Based in Harrisburg, Pa., the new LNG tractors will replace older generation diesel-powered trucks. The LNG trucks will be used for less-than-truckload routes. UPS expects the tractors to travel 600 miles per tank.

According to a press release, UPS has nearly 5,500 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles worldwide. Vehicles include all-electric, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid, compressed natural gas (CNG), LNG, propane, biomethane and lightweight fuel-saving composite body vehicles.

On April 3, Land Line reported that UPS would deploy 1,400 CNG trucks over the next year. UPS will also build 15 CNG fueling stations for the new trucks. Of the 15 new stations, 12 will be in the natural gas vehicle deployment areas. The remaining three will replace existing CNG stations with more equipment of a higher capacity.

UPS expects to log more than 350 million miles per year with its alternative fuel vehicles with the added fleet. The company has a goal of reaching 1 billion miles by the end of 2017.

 

Another week of decline for average spot market freight rates

Spot rate averages failed to increase for all three freight modes for the week ending Saturday, April 25. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates dropped two cents to $1.87. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.10, 4 cents lower than last week. Rates for the month of March were up 2.7 percent from the previous month and declined 7.2 percent since March 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased 12 percent to 2.6 loads per truck. Seven states – six on the East Coast – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates remained stagnant at $2.12. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.71, a 1-cent decrease from the previous week. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates of $1.72, unchanged from the previous week. Compared with March 2014, reefer rates are down 4.4 percent. Load-to-truck ratios were also unchanged from the previous week at 5.9. Fourteen states have ratios of 12 or more, with seven states west of the Mississippi River.

Flatbed rates went down a penny to $2.19. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.98. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.77. Rates are up 2.8 percent for the month, but down 3.5 percent in the last 12 months. There were 20.7 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 1.5 percent decrease from the previous week. Twenty-one states across the country have a ratio of 18 or higher, unchanged from the previous week.

 

Truckers Against Trafficking receives award for public awareness

Truckers Against Trafficking has been awarded the Suzanne McDaniel Memorial Award for Public Awareness, the organization recently announced. The award was part of the annual Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus Awards at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Bill Brady, a trucker for Lodestar, accepted the award on behalf of TAT. With 18 years of experience, Brady has been working with TAT since 2012. Representatives from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the American Trucking Associations, the Truckload Carriers Association, and the National Association of Truck Stop Operators were in attendance.

Every year, the Caucus sponsors awards around National Crime Victims’ Rights Week to honor crime victims and those who serve them for outstanding efforts in victim advocacy, allied professional advocacy, public policy and public awareness.

 

Krista Sohm of Meritor becomes Trucker Buddy’s newest board member

Trucker Buddy International’s Board of Directors has recently announced Meritor’s Marketing and Communications Vice President Krista Sohm as its newest board member. Sohm was elected with a unanimous vote.

Sohm has 25 years of industry experience, according to a press release. Meritor has supported Trucker Buddy for more than 15 years. Contributions from the Meritor Trust have been made to the organization in addition to volunteer work from its employees.

“Krista is recognized for her ability to create and implement innovative ideas. We look forward to the contribution she will bring to our board in helping us advance Trucker Buddy’s mission of enabling schoolchildren to understand the importance of the trucking industry in our everyday lives,” Trucker Buddy International Executive Director Randy Schwartzenburg said in a press release.

Trucker Buddy International is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that helps educate schoolchildren and introduce educators to the trucking industry. Truckers sign up to become pen pals with children in grades K-8. The relationships allow truckers to become a mentors and educators to the children.

 

Commerce report from February: Truck and plane freight up from last year

The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that in February, trucks moved more than 60 percent of all the international freight, with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. 

The dollar value of freight hauled across the borders was the lowest February value since 2011. However, trucks managed to carry more freight when compared with February 2014.

Reduced value of mineral fuels led to a decrease in February 2015 U.S.-NAFTA trade flow as it has for previous months, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Freight totaled $85.7 billion, the fourth consecutive month of decreasing freight flows when compared with the previous month.

Two of five modes experienced an increase in commodity value when compared with February 2014. Air freight had the highest growth at a rate of 4.5 percent. Truck cargo increased 0.9 percent. Rail, pipeline and vessel freight decreased by 6.2, 22.8 and 29.0 percent, respectively, leading to the net value loss for the month.

Trucks were responsible for more than $54 billion of the $85.7 billion of imports and exports in February. Rail came in at second with a contribution of more than $12 billion.

More than 57 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 14.6 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 0.2 percent compared with February 2014. Of the $40.6 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 70 percent of the loads.

 

Make-A-Wish Mother’s Day Convoy to be held May 10 in Lancaster, Pa.

Celebrating its 26th year of raising awareness and funds for the Make-A-Wish foundation, the Mother’s Day Truck Convoy is slated for Sunday, May 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Burle Industries at 1000 New Holland Avenue in Lancaster, Pa. will host the event.

Back in 1990, a 12-year-old named Matt wished to ride in a truck and speak with his sister on a CB radio. Approximately 40 trucks showed up to grant Matt his wish. This year, more than 250 trucks are expected to participate in the Mother’s Day Convoy.

Food and drinks, including chicken BBQ, will be served while patrons enjoy live music, games, Obie the Clown and a live auction. This year’s auction includes such items as hand-made quilts, a music box, paintings and items hand-carved by Carl Wade, one of the convoy drivers.

For drivers wishing to participate in the convoy or for more information, call the Lancaster office at 717-283-4872 or visit the website here.

 

Kenworth offers $1,000 rebate on Icon 900 for OOIDA members

Introduced at the Mid-America Trucking Show, the new Kenworth Icon 900 is a customized limited edition truck recognizing the W900L’s timeless, classic style. Kenworth has announced that OOIDA members are now eligible for a $1,000 rebate on qualifying purchases of the Icon 900.

The truck will be available with a 72- or 86-inch sleeper and an engine with muscle up to 600 hp. Some other truck features include:

  • Unique chrome hood badge
  • Stainless steel fender guards
  • Upgraded headlights
  • Headlamp covers
  • LED panel lights mounted under cab and sleeper panels
  • High-back leather seats with limited edition embroidering
  • Leather sofa bed matching the seats
  • Chrome dash surrounds and door pads


Truckers wanting to purchase the Icon 900 and receive the rebate must show their OOIDA membership to their Kenworth dealer. There is a limit of three qualifying trucks for the rebate in one year. Contact a Kenworth dealer for more details.

 

Average spot market rates drop for all freight modes

Spot rate averages went down for all three freight modes for the week ending Saturday, April 18. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates dropped 2 cents to $1.89. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.14, also 2 cents lower than last week. Rates for the month of March were up 2.7 percent from the previous month and declined 7.2 percent since March 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased 6.6 percent to 2.9 loads per truck. Seven states – six on the East Coast – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates decreased by 3 cents to $2.12 after rates remained at $2.15 since March 21. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.72, a 1-cent decrease from the previous week. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates of $1.72, a 3-cent increase. Compared with March 2014, reefer rates are down 4.4 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went down by 7.3 percent to 5.9 from 6.3 in the previous week. Fourteen states have ratios of 12 or more, with seven states west of the Mississippi River.

Flatbed rates went down 3 cents to $2.20. This marks the first decline in rates after five weeks of increases. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.59. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.71. Rates are up 2.8 percent for the month, but down 3.5 percent in the last 12 months. There were 21.1 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 5.4 percent decrease from the last week. Twenty-one states across the country have a ratio of 18 or higher, unchanged from the previous week.

 

Ritchie Bros. to hold largest Canadian auction April 28- May 1

Ritchie Bros. to hold largest Canadian auction April 28- May 1
Auctioneer company Ritchie Bros. will be holding its largest ever Canadian auction in Edmonton, Alberta, April 28 to May 1. The unreserved auction will feature more than 8,000 equipment items and trucks.

Items being auctioned off include 225-plus crawler tractors, 235-plus excavators, 210-plus compactors, 85-plus wheel loaders, 95-plus articulated dump trucks, 200-plus truck tractors, 560 trailers, 50-plus agricultural tractors, real estate and more. May 1 will feature oil and gas equipment. All items will go to the highest bidder regardless of closing price.

All items being auctioned off can be seen at rbauction.com/Edmonton.

General auction schedule:

  • Day One (Tuesday, April 28) – 200-plus truck tractors, 120 flatbed trucks, 110 dump trucks, 50-plus service trucks, 60-plus boom trucks, 35-plus water trucks, 30-plus vacuum trucks, 340-plus pickup trucks and more. 
  • Day Two (Wednesday, April 29) – 95-plus articulated dump trucks, 85-plus wheel loaders, 65-plus motor graders, 70-plus multi-terrain loaders, 40-plus motor scrapers, 50-plus skid steer loaders, 25-plus loader backhoes, 125-plus dump trailers, 65-plus lowboys, 25-plus hiboys, 20-plus log trailers and more. 
  • Day Three (Thursday, April 30) – 225-plus crawler tractors, 285-plus boom lifts, 140-plus scissorlifts, 120-plus telescopic forklifts, 45-plus forklifts, 30-plus cranes and more. 
  • Day Four (Friday, May 1) – 235-plus excavators, 210-plus compactors, as well as oil and gas, drilling, forestry and other equipment. 


Specific equipment highlights include:

  • 30-plus Kenworth T800 truck tractors 
  • 35 Caterpillar D6T LGP crawler tractors 
  • 25-plus Caterpillar D8T crawler tractors 
  • 15 Volvo A40F 6x6 articulated dump trucks 
  • 15 2014 Caterpillar 299D XPS multi-terrain loaders 
  • Seven Caterpillar 14M VHP motor graders 
  • Four 2011 Caterpillar 740B 6x6 articulated dump trucks 
  • Four 2015 Freightliner 122SD tri-drive truck tractors 
  • Three 2013 Caterpillar 627H motor scrapers 
  • Two unused Komatsu WA270-7 wheel loaders 
  • Two Link-Belt HTC86100 100-ton 8x4x4 hydraulic truck cranes 
  • An unused 2014 Caterpillar 320EL hydraulic excavator 
  • A 2011 Bauer BG20H foundation drill

 

 

Kenworth T880 is ATD Commercial Truck of Year

The Kenworth T880 vocational truck with the Paccar MX-13 engine has been named 2015 Commercial Truck of the Year by the American Truck Dealers.

This year’s ATD Truck of the Year competition focused on the vocational and heavy haul/severe duty truck category. During the competition, a panel of judges consisting of industry experts conducted test drives and evaluated each truck entry in key categories, which included innovation, design, safety, driver ergonomics and comfort.

The Kenworth T880 is for vocational customers who require a durable truck for demanding dump, mixer, heavy haul, oilfield, logging and refuse applications. KW says customers can expect longer service intervals, increased uptime, lower operating costs and high resale value. The T880 is available in daycab, 52-inch sleeper and the just announced 76-inch mid-roof sleeper configurations.

The T880 is standard with the Paccar MX-13 engine rated up to 500 hp and 1,850 lb-ft. of torque. The T880 can be ordered with a 116.5-inch BBC hood optimized for the Paccar MX-13 engine and providing enhanced visibility, or with the standard 122.5-inch BBC hood.

The T880 also includes an air-assisted hydraulic clutch, complex reflector headlamps, and lightweight, factory-installed lift axles.

The judges, a panel of select journalists, selected the winners. Land Line Magazine Field Editor Suzanne Stempinski was on the judging panel.

 

Con-way teams up with Truckers Against Trafficking

Another trucking company has joined the ranks of several government agencies, associations and companies to become part of Truckers Against Trafficking. Con-way Inc. has recently announced its partnership with Truckers Against Trafficking in an effort to curb human trafficking.

With a mission “to educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking and travel plaza industry to combat domestic sex trafficking,” TAT coordinates with government agencies and trucking companies by supplying them with the tools needed to put a stop to human trafficking.

Con-way’s announcement comes shortly after one of its drivers, Kevin Kimmel, received the Harriet Tubman Award from TAT for recognizing that a young woman was being held captive at a truck stop in Virginia. Kimmel’s vigilance and subsequent actions contacting authorities led to the woman’s freedom and the arrest of her captors.

“Something about the situation just didn’t feel right to me,” said Kimmel in a press release. “I called the police figuring that if I was wrong, I’d be putting a damper on someone’s vacation for 15 minutes, but if I was right, I’d maybe be making a big difference in that girl's life.”

Con-way joins the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and more than 100 companies registered with Truckers Against Trafficking, including 32 other state trucking associations and more than 100,000 individual trained employees. Individual drivers and companies can register by going to TAT’s website and clicking “TAT Trained.”

In a statement provided by Con-way, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia said, “Human trafficking crimes cannot be solved without people like Mr. Kimmel providing critically important tips to law enforcement, and awareness programs like Truckers Against Trafficking are very beneficial in providing education to truck drivers and bringing awareness to this national issue.”

 

New Love’s along I-40 in Arizona includes 91 parking spaces

Love’s Travel Stop has opened a new location in Williams, Ariz, which includes 91 parking spaces for trucks.

Located off of Exit 163 on Interstate 40, the new Love’s location will include several amenities. The 12,000-square-foot facility will include gourmet coffee, electronics, gift merchandise, and Subway and Carl’s restaurants.

Some of the services provided at the 24/7 travel stop include seven showers, Love’s Truck Tire Care center, RFID cardless fueling, CAT scales and more. Later this year the new location will feature Fast-Fill compressed natural gas.

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

 

OOIDA members eligible for $1,000 rebate on Peterbilt trucks

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association members can now receive a $1,000 rebate on qualifying Peterbilt trucks through Peterbilt dealerships. The offer is valid through 2015.

Truckers can purchase up to three tractors under the rebate program. Delivery must be taken this year. Rebates must be requested within 30 days of taking delivery. OOIDA members must be in good standing for at least 90 days before taking delivery to be eligible.

Truck models eligible for the rebate are:

  • Model 579 with a 72-, 78- or 80-inch sleeper
  • Model 389 with a 72-, 78- or 80-inch sleeper
  • Model 587 with a factory-installed sleeper

 

Brenner Tank trailer manufacturer to be featured on ‘How It’s Made’

Brenner brand tank trailers and the people who make them will be featured on an upcoming episode of the documentary television series “How It’s Made.” Brenner tankers are manufactured by Wabash National Corporation, headquartered in Lafayette, Ind.

The episode, highlighting step-by-step how Wabash’s Brenner Tank trailers are made, will air at 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, April 9, on the Science Channel in the United States, and on the Discovery Channel in Canada.

The segment was filmed at Brenner’s manufacturing operations in Fond du Lac, Wis. The company has been in operation for more than 100 years.

The “How It’s Made” series, which shows how raw materials are transformed into final products, first aired in 2001.

 

Service brake defect prompts Daimler truck recall

According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document, Daimler Trucks North America LLC has recalled more than 2,000 Freightliner and Western Star trucks. The recalled vehicles have a service brake defect.

Certain Freightliner and Western Star trucks manufactured Oct. 6, 2014, to Feb. 16, 2015, that are equipped with Haldex Life Seal brake chambers are affected. Vehicles affected may experience brake drag due to an improperly seated diaphragm in the brake chamber. While the truck is traveling at highway speeds, the defect may cause loss of control of the vehicle.

Models affected include:

  • 2015 Freightliner 108SD
  • 2015 Freightliner 114SD
  • 2015 Freightliner 122SD
  • 2015 Freightliner Business Class M2
  • 2015 Freightliner Cascadia
  • 2015 Freightliner Coronado
  • 2015 Western Star 4700
  • 2015 Western Star 4900


Daimler Trucks North America will notify customers and will replace the brake chambers free of charge. Daimler’s number for this recall is FL676, and the recall is expected to begin May 25, 2015. Drivers who own one of the recalled models can contact Daimler Trucks North America customer service at 800-385-4357.

Owners can also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit safercar.gov.

 

IdleAir opens location in South Carolina, plans another in Nuevo Laredo

IdleAir, an alternative to APUs and idling engines during rest periods, has announced a new location at the Flying J in Latta, S.C. A new location in Mexico and future construction plans have also been announced.

Flying J in Latta, S.C., is now equipped with IdleAir Station Modules. The new location is the second solar-PV powered truck stop by IdleAir. Fitted into the cab window with an adapter, the Service Module allows drivers to have heating, cooling, standard electric inside and outside the cab, satellite TV, Internet and more without using an APU or idling the engine. A color touch-screen control, heating/cooling vent, electrical outlets, and telecommunication ports are part of the hookup. Window adapters are $5.

An expanded, overnight 12-hour discount is available for Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association members.

Convoy Solutions LLC, the parent company of IdleAir, has also broken ground for a location in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. This will be IdleAir’s first operation outside the United States. IdleAir will be building terminals with Covenant Transport at their headquarters and national training facility in Chattanooga, Tenn.

For more information on locations, prices and other details, visit idleair.com.

 

Trucking industry lost nearly 7,000 jobs in March, most in two years

After the biggest net gain in more than a year in February, transportation employment for March continued to grow. Despite overall growth for the industry, truck transportation – a subsector – received a relatively significant loss in jobs.

The transportation sector gained 9,500 jobs in March, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The truck transportation subsector received a loss of 6,800 jobs, the first loss since August 2014 (down 800) and the largest since March 2013 (down 6,900). Approximately 2,600 truck transportation jobs were added in February. Trucking jobs lost the most in the transportation and warehousing sector, with most subsectors receiving gains.

“Support activities for transportation” received the largest gain with 8,400 jobs added, followed by transit and ground passenger transportation with an additional 3,500 jobs. Scenic and sightseeing transportation experienced the second largest loss with 500 jobs eliminated from the subsector.

March’s transportation job gain is nearly half of the gain from February, which saw a gain of 18,500, the largest increase in more than a year. January lost nearly 9,000 jobs, the largest loss in almost a year.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.91 for March, up two cents from February. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 4 cents to $20.81. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries increased 7 cents to $24.86. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.1 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 8.1 percent from 9.2 percent last March. The overall unemployment rate for the country made little change at 5.5 percent. The number of long-term unemployed remained relatively stagnant for March, but has decreased by 1.1 million in the past 12 months.

 

UPS and Raven add alternative fuel trucks to fleets

UPS and Raven Transport both announced this week that they will be adding more alternative fuel trucks to their fleets. Raven will inject 115 liquefied natural gas (LNG) trucks into the company, and UPS will deploy 1,400 compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks over the next year.

In addition to its 1,400 new CNG trucks, UPS will also build 15 CNG fueling stations for the new trucks, according to a press release. Of the 15 new stations, 12 will be in the natural gas vehicle deployment areas. The remaining three will replace existing CNG stations with more equipment of a higher capacity.

With a current fleet of 5,088 alternative fuel vehicles, UPS’s new addition will be nearly a 30 percent increase. UPS expects to log in more than 350 million miles per year with its alternative fuel vehicles with the added fleet. The company has a goal of reaching 1 billion miles the end of 2017.

Meanwhile, Raven Transport will add 115 Peterbilt Model 579s to its portfolio. Each truck will be equipped with sleepers and will be powered by LNG. Trucks were purchased from Rush Truck Center of Jacksonville, Fla.

To help support the demand, Clean Energy will open natural gas fueling stations for trucks in Atlanta, Ga.; Birmingham, Ala.; Theodore, Ala.; and Pearl, Miss. Currently, Clean Energy has stations in Albany, Ga.; Valdosta, Ga.; Houston Baytown, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; and Jacksonville, Fla.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, there are 817 public CNG stations and only 70 LNG stations in the U.S. as of press time.

In a 2013 report, natural gas engine engineering company Westport determined that LNG is more suitable for long-haul trucks. Conversely, CNG is a better fit for smaller commercial vehicles and more local or regional heavy-duty trucks.

Westport also projected that approximately 150 LNG stations would be needed to cover all of the major interstate trucking routes at 300-mile intervals.

 

Commerce report from January: Trucks moved 60 percent of freight

The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that in January, trucks moved more than 60 percent of all the international freight, with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest.

The dollar value of freight hauled across the borders by U.S., Canadian and Mexican truckers in January was more than 1 percent less than a year earlier.

Reduced value of mineral fuels led to a decrease in January 2015 U.S.-NAFTA trade flow, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Freight totaled $89.3 billion, the third consecutive month of decreasing freight flows when compared with the previous month.

Three of five modes experienced an increase in commodity value when compared with January 2014. Rail freight had the highest growth at a rate of 4.8 percent. Truck cargo increased 3.6 percent and air freight went up 1.3 percent. Vessel freight experienced a decline of 21.8 percent and pipeline freight went down 22.5 percent, resulting in the net loss for all cargo in January.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $55.6 billion of the $89.3 billion of imports and exports in January. Rail came in at second with a contribution of $9 billion. When compared to January 2014, truck and rail contributions were not enough for an increase due to significant losses from vessel and pipeline freight.

Approximately 55 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 15.7 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 9.4 percent for 2014. Of the $41.2 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 70.8 percent of the loads.

 

Check tire while fueling with Love’s TirePass

Ensuring proper tire inflation is important as well as time-consuming. Love’s Travel Stops has found a way to kill two birds with one stone by offering TirePass, a tire-inflation service offered while fueling up.

Once drivers pull into one of the 10 locations currently offering TirePass, they can enter the “TirePass Inflation & Fuel Express Lane.” A callbox is then used to alert an attendant that service is needed. While the trucker begins fueling up, a tire technician will hook all tractor and trailer tires up to the automatic inflator.

In addition to inflating tires, the TirePass service will record the tread depth using a digital tire tread depth gauge. Once completed, drivers can go to the fuel desk to receive a full report on the condition of their tires.

Love’s claims the TirePass service reduces downtime, increases fuel efficiency, extends tire life, and improves safety.

TirePass is currently available at 10 locations, but Love’s plans to have the service available at all Love’s Truck Tire Care centers, according to Love’s Spokesperson Kealey Dorian.

 

Internet Truckstop has changed its name to Truckstop.com

Online freight-matching service Internet Truckstop is now Truckstop.com.

In conjunction with a new logo and brand identity, Truckstop.com will be a part of the larger entity Internet Truckstop Group. Also within the group are uDrove, Real Time Freight, ITS Financial Services, D&S Factors and Roady’s Truck Stops.

According to a press release, the only visible changes will be the name and the “fresh coat of paint.” Chief Marketing Officer Brent Hutto described the beginning of the company 20 years ago as “just a load board” that has grown much larger in the past two decades.

 

Espar is now Eberspaecher

Espar, the German vehicle technology company, will assume the name of its parent company Eberspaecher, the company recently announced. Celebrating its 150 year anniversary, Eberspaecher has decided to bring Espar under its namesake.

Established in 1973, Espar was the North American subsidiary of Eberspaecher specializing in compact fuel-operated heaters. Eberspaecher develops and supplies exhaust technology, vehicle heating and air conditioning systems.

 “Espar” will still be used as a legal business entity.

 

Average spot market rates reveal improvement for flatbeds

Flatbed freight rates increased while van and reefer rates showed little or no change for the week ending Saturday, March 21. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates remained stagnant at $1.94 for the second consecutive week. Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.11. Rates for the month of February were down 2.6 percent from the previous month and declined 5.1 percent since February 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased 16 percent to 2.9 loads per truck. Only three states – Idaho, Maine and Vermont – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates dropped a penny to $2.15 compared with the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.80. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates of $1.70. Compared with February 2014, reefer rates are down 3.7 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went down by 19 percent to7.8 from 9.6 in the previous week. Thirteen states have ratios of 12 or more, with seven states West of the Mississippi River and the remaining six towards the northeast.

Flatbed rates increased 3 cents to $2.18. This marks the second consecutive week of higher rates after several weeks of unchanged rates. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.65. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.69. Rates are down 3.6 percent for the month and 3.2 percent in the last 12 months. There were 16.4 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 10 percent increase from the last week. Eleven states across the country have a ratio of 18 or higher, unchanged from the previous week.

 

Biodiesel imports declined 36 percent in 2014

Biodiesel and renewable diesel imports went down 36 percent last year, despite achieving record levels just the previous year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The EIA has identified two driving forces behind the decline.

Hesitation of proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) targets for 2015 and the lack of a surge of imports from Argentina late in the year have been considered by the EIA as reasons for the decline in 2014 volumes.

As defined by the EIA, RFS “requires EPA to set annual requirements for the renewable content of liquid fuels that may differ from a set of targets specified by law.”

Under the 2014 RFS projections, obligations for biomass-based diesel were expected to remain unchanged from 2013. However, advanced biofuels were projected to decrease to 2.2 billion gallons from 2.75 billion gallons the previous year.

Last year’s RFS targets proposal was released in November 2013. Targets for 2015 have yet to be released. Insecurities stemming from last year’s low projections and this year’s lack of projections have caused problems for refiners to meet RFS targets.

A major contributor to 2013’s record volumes was Argentina. In response to a European Union five-year tariff for selling biodiesel in the EU below cost, Argentina exported oil typically destined for Europe to the United States, according to Bloomberg. Argentine biodiesel imports fell 57 percent the following year.

In a late-January article in Bloomberg, biodiesel makers had issues with the Environmental Protection Agency allowing imports from Argentina. Complaints about imports came as the government failed to comply with laws that encourage domestic production.

Additionally, tax credits for biodiesel usage have been inconsistent. A $1 per gallon biodiesel tax credit expired at the end of 2013. The tax was not reinstated until the end of 2014. Higher prices kept the blending and production of domestic biodiesel economically feasible, thus reducing the need for imported fuels.

According to the EIA, demand for alternative diesel fuels has been increasing since 2012, largely due to raising RFS targets and biodiesel tax credits.

 

J. J. Keller mushers dominate 2015 Iditarod

Dallas Seavey, age 28, has won the 2015 Iditarod, and his father, Mitch Seavey, age 55, has captured second place. Both are sponsored by James and Rosanne Keller, representing J.J. Keller & Associates.

According to a J.J. Keller press statement, Dallas Seavey used his unique training regimen and group of Iditarod veteran dogs to win the 43rd annual Iditarod Alaskan sled dog race on Wednesday, March 18, at 4:13 a.m. local time. He finished in 8 days, 18 hours, 13 minutes and 6 seconds with 10 dogs.

They competed in temperatures as cold as minus 45 F and winds gusts of over 40 mph with many windblown trails and periods of heavy snow, overcoming frostbite to beat out 78 other registered mushers. Due to snow conditions, this year’s route started in Fairbanks, Alaska. The revised route added around 600 miles of river ice.

Mitch Seavey, in his 22nd Iditarod, came in second place. He finished at 8:22 a.m. Wednesday morning. He finished in 8 days, 22 hours, 22 minutes and 56 seconds with 10 dogs.

Both Kellers were at the finish line.

After meeting Dallas Seavey in Seward, Alaska, in 2006, James and Rosanne Keller created the J.J. Keller Extreme Transportation Solutions sponsorship to celebrate one of the original forms of transportation and to salute trucking professionals who dedicate themselves to transporting needed goods.

 

Navistar and Women in Trucking’s 2015 Influential Woman in Trucking

President and CEO of Rihm Kenworth Kari Rihm has been named Navistar and Women In Trucking Association’s 2015 Influential Woman in Trucking. Rihm received the award during a recent ceremony at the Truckload Carriers Association annual meeting.

Rihm took over her husband’s business, Rihm Kenworth, after his death in 2010. Rihm Kenworth has been in the family in St. Paul, Minn., since 1932. In keeping with family tradition and entrepreneurship, Rihm, her two children and some employees took the three dealerships and expanded to five dealerships. In the last four years, Rihm Kenworth has won the Kenworth Truck Company Medium Duty Truck Dealer of the Year three times.

Currently, Rihm Kenworth is the only woman-owned Kenworth dealer in the United States. Certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise Network Council, Rihm’s business has been named a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Magazine Family Business Honoree in 2013. Her business also received a National Association of Women-Owned Businesses local chapter Pioneer Award in 2014, and was honored with a 2015 nomination for American Truck Dealers Association Dealer of the Year.

The Influential Woman in Trucking award honors women “who make or influence key decisions, have a proven record of responsibility, and mentor and serve as a role model to other women” in the trucking industry. The award was initiated in 2010 by WIT and Navistar to recognize women leaders in the trucking industry and to entice more women to enter and advance in the industry.

 

Trucking freight index down first time in over 6 months

The Freight Transportation Service Index for January decreased by 0.2 percent from December to 122.9. January marks the second consecutive month of decreases, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Rail carloads, rail intermodal and pipeline were the only modes to experience some growth in January. Production, orders and inventory all decreased for January. TSI has gone up 29.9 percent since April 2009, when the index was at a historic low of 94.6.

Trucking freight received its first decline in the index since June 2014.

Freight shipments are down 0.2 percent from January 2014, up 19.0 percent from five years ago, and increased by 7.6 percent from 10 years ago.

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

 

SuperRigs to be held June 11-13 in Selma, Texas

Circle June 11-13 on the calendar and head over to Selma, Texas. The 33rd Shell Rotella SuperRigs is slated for those days at Retama Park in Selma. This year’s theme is “Thoroughbreds of Trucking.”

In addition to glistening, working trucks, show goers can also catch some horse racing on Friday evening and Saturday night. Located approximately 20 miles northeast of San Antonio off of Exit 174-A on I-35, the racetrack hosts quarter horse and thoroughbred racing.

Twelve drivers will compete for a chance to be featured in the 2016 Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar. More than $25,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to truckers during the truck beauty contest. Valued at more than $50, entrants will receive a gift package.

Judging will take place between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, June 11 and 12, and between 9 a.m. and noon on Saturday, June 13. Land Line Magazine Managing Editor Jami Jones will be back judging again this year.

Country musician Phil Pritchett will be performing for the crowd on Thursday, June 11. Friday night will include the truck parade on the race track followed by a fireworks display and another performance by Phil Pritchett. Games, classic cars, a barbecue cook-off, the Rotella Road Show and other events will also be held.

For updates, visit rotella.com or follow on Facebook at Facebook.com/ShellRotella and on Twitter at Twitter.com/ShellRotella.

 

Van and reefer spot freight rates on the rise

Flatbed freight rates dropped slightly as van and reefer rates continue a trend of increases for the week ending Saturday, March 7. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates received a relatively large gain of 6 cents to $1.94. Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.12. Rates for the month of February were down 2.6 percent from the previous month and declined 5.1 percent since February 2014. Load-to-truck ratios increased 16 percent to 3.7 loads per truck. Only three states – Idaho, Maine and Vermont – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates also experienced a large gain of 5 cents to $2.16 compared with the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $3.05, 42 cents higher than the previous week. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates of $1.66. Compared with February 2014, reefer rates are down 3.7 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went up by 15 percent to 11 from 9.5 in the previous week. Only seven states west of the Mississippi have ratios of 12 or more, unchanged from the previous week but still much fewer than weeks prior.

Flatbed rates dropped a penny to $2.12. With the exception of a $2.13 the previous week, flatbed rates have stayed stagnant at $2.12 since the week ending Feb. 14. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.41. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.81. Rates are down 3.6 percent for the month and 3.2 percent in the last 12 months. There were 14.0 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 12 percent increase from the last week. Eleven states across the country have a ratio of 18 or higher, unchanged from the previous week.

 

Con-way Truckload joins charity to send free coffee to troops overseas

Con-way Truckload and military charity Holy Joe’s Cafe have teamed up to provide coffee to soldiers at military bases in the United States. Con-way Truckload is now a transportation sponsor of the charity.

Offering its services free of charge, Con-way will transport thousands of pounds of coffee to military bases. Coffee is also donated from suppliers.

Con-way began moving coffee for military charity Holy Joe’s Cafe last June. Transporting more than a dozen shipments, the donated service was valued at more than $50,000. This year, Con-way plans to increase the amount of shipments. Each truckload carries approximately 400,000 to 500,000 Keurig K-Cups along with a pallet of Keurig coffeemakers.

Once shipments arrive at various military bases, the coffee is sent to deployed troops. Soldiers in the Middle East are the main focus, with military personnel in 35 other countries also being delivered Keurig coffee.

Served by military chaplains at overseas bases, troops will have the opportunity to have conversations dealing with a variety of issues they may have to cope with while deployed. More than 150 military chaplains participate in this program.

For more information about Holy Joe’s Cafe and its services, visit their Facebook page.

 

Mack Trucks calendar contest accepting submissions

It may be March 2015, but it is not too early to start thinking about 2016 calendars. Mack Trucks announced this week that Mack owners now have the opportunity to see their truck in next year’s calendar.

Mack owners can submit photos to nominate their trucks at Mack Trucks' official Facebook page. Trucks being entered in the contest must be in current commercial operation. Any Mack model and year is eligible.

Fans of the Facebook page will vote on six trucks to be featured in the 2016 calendar. Currently, the Facebook page has more than 100,000 fans. Trucks that win the contest will receive a professional photo shoot that will be used in their spot for the calendar.

Mack is currently accepting submissions. All entries must be received by May 31.

 

Red Eye Radio Million Mile Club inductees announced

Chevron Products Co. has announced the most recent inductees to the Chevron Delo-sponsored Red Eye Radio Million Mile Club.

For 23 years, the Million Mile Club has been honoring U.S. and Canadian truckers who have logged in 1 million miles of driving without an accident. New members will receive a personalized Million Mile Club jacket, a membership card and a gift from other sponsors involved with the exclusive club.

Qualified drivers can apply to be among the next group of inductees by going to ChevronDelo.com/promotions.

Below are the February 2015 Million Mile Club inductees:

  • Ed Davis, Con-way Truckload, Yoakum, Texas
  • Jeff Gabel, Caledonia Haulers, Viola, Wis.
  • Kelvin Wartick, St. Cloud, Minn.
  • Wayne Chambers, Frito Lay, Lewisville, Texas
  • Ken Brennstuhl, Owner Operator, Unionville, Tenn.
  • Maude Bradley, H&M Trucking, Pleasant Plains, Ill.
  • Walter Salyers, Owner Operator, Springfield, Ohio
  • Raw Dawson, DC Express, McClure, Ohio

 

Transport jobs see biggest increase in more than a year

After the largest net loss in nearly a year in January, transportation jobs experienced the largest net gain in more than a year industry-wide for February. Truck transportation – a subsector – received moderate growth. The transportation sector gained 18,500 jobs in February, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Truck transportation subsector jobs received a relatively modest gain of 2,600 jobs, for a total of more than 1.4 million jobs. Approximately 2,400 truck transportation jobs were added in January. Trucking jobs gained the third most in the transportation and warehousing sector, with most subsectors receiving minimal gains. Couriers and messengers received the largest gain with 12,300 jobs added, followed by warehousing and storage with an additional 3,900 jobs. In January, couriers and messengers received the largest loss with 14,100 jobs eliminated from the workforce.

February’s transportation job gain is a significant increase from January, which saw a loss of 8,600. December gained more than 3,000 jobs. Last month marked the largest gain since November 2013 when the transportation sector was injected with 30,500 more jobs. 

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.94 for February, up 10 cents from January. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased 3 cents to $20.68. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries increased 3 cents to $24.78. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 7.7 percent from 10.2 percent last February. The overall unemployment rate for the country made little change at 5.7 percent. The number of long-term unemployed remained relatively stagnant for February, but has decreased by 1.1 million in the past 12 months.

 

Mercedes-Benz Vans to open plant in South Carolina

Charleston, S.C., will soon be receiving an injection of German engineering as Mercedes-Benz Vans has announced plans to open a new plant in the city. Construction is slated to begin in 2016.

At a cost of half a billion dollars, the new plant will manufacture Sprinter vehicles for North America. Expected to take up more than 200 acres, the facility will include a new body shop, paint shop and assembly line. More than 1,300 jobs will be created, making Mercedes-Benz one of the largest industrial employers in the region.

Mercedes-Benz Vans’ decision to set up shop in the United States was a fairly easy one. According to a press release, North America has a thriving van market. Vans manufactured in Germany face high U.S. import duties. Additionally, vehicles must be disassembled before being shipped over. A plant in the U.S. eliminates both of these cost burdens.

 

CRST International acquires Pegasus Transportation

CRST International Inc. recently acquired Pegasus Transportation Inc. The purchase was made with CRST cash reserves.

“The acquisition of Pegasus will allow CRST to expand its temperature controlled operations nationwide footprint through their expanded customer base.” said Group President Mike Gannon. “For CRST and Pegasus it means improved fleet utilization and increased operating efficiencies. We look forward to working with the Pegasus employees and customers.”

CRST International’s annual revenue exceeds $1.5 billion, and it currently employs more than 7,000 company drivers, independent contractors and office personnel across the United States. CRST has acquired three other transportation companies in the last two years: Specialized Transportation, Allied Special Products and Besl Transfer Co.

 

Average spot rates increase slightly for all categories

Spot rates for truck freight continue to show signs of improvement for the week ending Saturday, Feb. 28. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates went up by a penny to $1.88. Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.13. Rates for the month of February were down 3.1 percent from the previous month and declined 5.1 percent since February 2014. Load-to-truck ratios increased 19.5 percent to 3.2 loads per truck. Only three states – Idaho, Maine and Vermont – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, one fewer than the previous week as the North and South Dakotas drop off and Maine steps in.

Reefer rates increased by 1 cent to $2.11 compared with the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.63. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates of $1.57. Compared with February 2014, reefer rates are down 3.7 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went up by 21 percent to 9.5 from 7.9 in the previous week. Only seven states west of the Mississippi have ratios of 12 or more. In previous weeks, the majority of states west of the Mississippi had higher than usual rates.

Flatbed rates also went up a penny to $2.13. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.41. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.81. Rates are down 3.6 percent for the month and 3.2 percent in the last 12 months. There were 12.4 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 9.0 percent increase from the last week. Eleven states across the country have a ratio of 18 or higher, seven fewer than the previous week.

 

U.S. Department of Commerce: trucks still moving most freight

The dollar value of freight hauled across the borders by U.S., Canadian and Mexican truckers in December was more than 9 percent greater than a year earlier. That’s according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, which also says trucks moved 60 percent of all the international freight, with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest.

Reduced value of mineral fuels led to a decrease in December 2014 U.S.-NAFTA trade flow, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Freight totaled $95.8 billion, the second consecutive month of decreasing freight flows when compared with the previous month.

Four of five modes experienced an increase in commodity value when compared with December 2013. Truck cargo had the highest growth at a rate of 9.3 percent. Rail freight increased 8.3 percent, air freight went up 6.3 percent and pipeline freight improved by 4.0 percent. Vessel freight experienced the only decrease from a year ago with a 22.6 percent reduction in value.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $3 billion of the $4.9 billion net increase from December 2013, the largest increase and offsetting losses from vessel freight. Rail came in at second with a $740 million increase. Trucks accounted for $28.4 billion of exports and $28.4 billion of imports.

More than 52 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 4.3 percent. Of the $42.8 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 67.5 percent of the loads.

 

First public access CNG station in northeast Florida opens

Diesel still reigns supreme, but natural gases continue to establish relevancy. Champion Brands Inc. and amp Trillium LLC have opened the first compressed natural gas station with public access in northeast Florida. The new fueling station will be located off of Highway 1 in Jacksonville, Fla.

Near the intersection of Interstates 295 and 95, the new CNG station will be open for heavy-duty trucks 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The station will use a public access card reader system.

Two dual hose dispensers will be available, allowing two trucks to fuel up simultaneously. Trillium CNG’s fast-fill hydraulic intensifier compressor will also be featured at the station.

Steve Josephs, director of engineering and co-founder of ampCNG, mentioned in a press release that the goal is to get more CNG trucks in the area and that the company has plans to open more CNG stations across the country this year.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, there are 811 public CNG stations and only 69 public liquefied natural gas, or LNG, stations in the U.S. as of press time.

In a 2013 report, natural gas engine engineering company Westport determined that LNG is more suitable for long-haul trucks. Conversely, CNG is a better fit for smaller commercial vehicles and more local or regional heavy-duty trucks.

Westport also projected that approximately 150 LNG stations would be needed to cover all of the major interstate trucking routes at 300-mile intervals.

Several fleets, including Dart, have invested in CNG tractors.

 

Spot market rates hold steady after nearly two months of decline

After seven weeks of declining prices, spot rates for truck freight leveled out or slightly increased for the week ending Saturday, Feb. 21. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates went up by a penny to $1.87. Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.08. Rates for the month of January were down 6.7 percent from the previous month, but have remained stagnant since January 2014. Load-to-truck ratios increased 27 percent to 2.7 loads per truck. Only four states – Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota and Vermont – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week and keeping up with the seasonal trend.

Reefer rates remained stagnant at $2.10 compared with the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.63. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates of $1.57. Compared with January 2014, reefer rates are up 8.3 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went up by 28 percent to 7.9 from 6.2 in the previous week. A large portion of the states west of the Mississippi River had ratios in excess of 12 loads per truck.

Flatbed rates were still at $2.12. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.29. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.57. Rates are down 3.5 percent for the month, but are up 5.7 percent in the last 12 months. There were 11.4 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 2.8 percent increase from the last week. Eighteen states across the country have a ratio of 18 or higher.

 

Averitt Express donated $450,000 in 2014, $7 million total to children’s charity

Employees at Averitt Express donated $450,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 2014. Last year’s contributions put the company’s donations at more than $7 million.

Founded in 1986, Averitt Cares for Kids has given nearly $7.5 million to various charities for children, including the Shriners Burn Institute and Ronald McDonald House. Weekly contributions from Averitt in 2014 went to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Contributions by truckers and other Averitt employees are voluntary and out-of-pocket.

“With just a weekly donation of $1, our associates exemplify what can be achieved when people rally together for a good cause,” Averitt President and CEO Gary Sasser said in a press release.

Since 1990, Averitt Cares for Kids has donated $4.8 million to St. Jude. As a result, families of children battling cancer and other diseases do not have to pay for treatment at St. Jude, including travel, housing or food. Families are afforded the opportunity to focus on the sick child without having to carry the weight of financial burden.

In 2007, the Averitt Express Leukemia and Lymphoma Clinic at St. Jude was completed with the help of a $1.5 million endowment.

 

Aperia Technologies wins 2014 Technical Achievement Award

Truck Writers of North America has declared its recipient of the 2014 Technical Achievement Award during the Technology and Maintenance Council’s Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition in Nashville, and the winner is: Aperia Technologies’ Halo Tire Inflator.

Using the wheel’s rotation to propel an internal pump that preserves air pressure, Aperia’s Halo bolts onto an axle hub. In a press release, Aperia executives compared the mechanics to that of a self-winding watch.

Currently, Halo is available for driver and trailer axles. A steer axle version is under development.

Halo was one of five finalists in a pool that started with more than a dozen products. Dana’s Spicer AdvanTEK 40 tandem drive axles, Fontaine Fifth Wheel’s dual camera system, Peterson’s LumenX Series 7 LED, and Webb Wheel’s Vortex Unlimited vented brake drum were the other four finalists.

Finalists were chosen by the Truck Writers of North America’s Technical Achievement Award committee, including Paul Abelson of Road King and Land Line Magazine; John Baxter of Baxter TechWrite and technical director of Advance Diesel Concepts; Tom Berg of Heavy Duty Trucking and Construction Equipment; Peter Carter of Today’s Trucking; David Kolman of Fleet Maintenance Magazine and Road King; James Menzies of Truck News and Truck West; and Jim Park of Heavy Duty Trucking.

 

Ritchie Bros. auction sets records for site and online sales

It must have been like Disney World for heavy-duty gearheads and industrial buyers. Ritchie Bros., the world's largest industrial auctioneer, sold a record-breaking 10,500-plus equipment items and trucks at its premier global auction last week in Orlando, Fla. CEO Ravi Saligram says they sold more transportation section assets at this sale on Friday, Feb. 20, than any of the company’s previous Orlando auctions. A record 310 truck tractors were sold.

The five-day unreserved public auction attracted more than 9,300 onsite and online bidders from 81 countries and generated nearly $180 million in gross auction proceeds. 

 

Average spot market rates still going down

Spot rates for truck freight dropped for the seventh consecutive week for the week ending Saturday, Feb. 14. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. Rates dropped for all three categories for the third consecutive week.

Van rates declined by a penny to $1.86. Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.09. Rates for the month of January were down 6.7 percent from the previous month, but have remained stagnant since January 2014. Load-to-truck ratios went down 15 percent to 2.1 loads per truck. Only four states – Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota and Vermont – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week and keeping up with the seasonal trend.

Reefer rates lost 1 cent to $2.10 compared with the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.77. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates of $1.63. Compared with January 2014, reefer rates are up 8.3 percent. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 18 percent to 6.2 from 7.5 in the previous week. A large portion of the states west of the Mississippi River had ratios in excess of 12 loads per truck.

Flatbed rates dropped 2 cents to $2.12. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.29. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.57. Rates are down 3.5 percent for the month, but are up 5.7 percent in the last 12 months. There were 11.1 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 5.4 percent decrease from the last week. Eighteen states across the country have a ratio of 18 or higher.

 

STEMCO acquires ATDynamics

STEMCO, a commercial vehicle parts manufacturer and distributor, has recently acquired ATDynamics, a designer and manufacturer of fuel-efficient technology for commercial vehicles.

ATDynamics will become a part of STEMCO’s Innovative Tire and Mileage Solutions group. ITMS is responsible for automatic tire inflation systems, including Aeris and Aeris SmartSense products.

ATDynamics is the company behind TrailerTail technology. Trucks equipped with TrailerTail reduce greenhouse emissions through aerodynamic design. STEMCO manufactures truck wheel end, braking and suspension components.

ATDynamics is based in California with a sales office in Tennessee. STEMCO is headquartered in Texas with manufacturing facilities in Georgia, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Canada and China.

 

Shell Rotella announces new nitrite-free coolant

Shell Lubricants announced the newest addition to its coolant product line: Shell Rotella Extended Life Coolant-Nitrite Free.

Also called Shell Rotella ELC-NF, the coolant will serve as a companion to Shell Rotella Ultra ELC. Both coolants are intended for trucks that are using nitrite-free engine antifreeze and coolant. Nitrite-free products yield better protection for aluminum components.

Shell Rotella ELC-NF can also be used in fleets with passenger cars and light-duty trucks. Extended life operation has been shown in medium- and heavy-duty diesel, gasoline, LNG and natural gas vehicles and engines.

According to a press release, extended life coolants are designed to go 600,000 on-highway miles or 12,000 hours in commercial applications.

Shell Rotella ELC-NF meets industry required ASTM D3306, D4985 and D6210 and TMCRP 329 and RP364 requirements. Shell Rotella ELC NF is also suitable for the following applications:

  • Detroit Diesel 93K217
  • Cummins Medium and Heavy Duty On-Road Engines
  • Mack Truck
  • Navistar MPAPS B-1 Type IIIA (formerly Int CEMS B-1)
  • Paccar
  • Volvo TSI 184-001
  • Ford WSS-M97B44D
  • GM 6277M

 

Ryder, Women in Trucking offer trucks spec’d for female drivers

In an effort to get more women on the road as professional drivers, the Women in Trucking Association, Ryder System Inc. and various original equipment manufacturers are currently offering trucks that are ergonomically designed specifically for female drivers, according to a press release.

Based on results from a study conducted last year, the modified trucks can have up to 16 unique specifications:

  • Height and placement of cab steps
  • Height and placement of cab grab handles
  • Seat width and armrest height
  • Adjustable foot pedal height (accelerator, brake, clutch)
  • Height of seatbelts (shoulder area)
  • Visibility of dash cluster/gauges
  • Integrated ladders for double bunk sleepers
  • Sleeper berth light switches on cab wall, not the ceiling
  • Electric/hydraulic hood lifting mechanism
  • Automated transmission shift lever placement/location
  • Access to the top of the dash
  • Security system for cab (personal protection while in sleeper berth)
  • Better access to the windshield
  • Better access to oil and coolant check and fill
  • 5th wheel pull pressure
  • Height and placement of catwalk steps and back of cab grab handles


“Class 8 trucks have typically been designed with the ‘average’ truck driver in mind,” Women in Trucking President and CEO Ellen Voie told Land Line. “In the past, this has been a male, and the average weight and height of a male is typically greater than their female partners.”

According to Scott Perry, Vice President of Supply Management and Global Fuel Products at Ryder, many of the specs have been integrated by the OEMs at no extra charge. However, other features such has automated fifth wheels and automated trailer landing gear will add to the cost of the truck. How much will vary by manufacturer.

 

Walmart joins in support for Truckers Against Trafficking

Walmart Logistics has been added to the list of government agencies and companies joining in the support for the Truckers Against Trafficking project.

Like many trucking companies across the country, Walmart will hold meetings with all of their private fleet drivers to educate them about human trafficking. An informational video will be produced for company drivers to view at their convenience. Trafficking awareness stickers will be placed on all company-owned trucks.

According to Walmart’s website, more than 7,200 drivers transport 53,500 trailers and 5,600 reefers in 6,000 tractors. Last year, approximately 700 million miles were driven by Walmart drivers.

In addition to educating drivers, Walmart has also donated $2,500 to support Truckers Against Trafficking.

On Monday, Land Line reported that Michigan State Police’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division recently joined Truckers Against Trafficking. Last month, the Virginia Trucking Association joined TAT shortly after a trucker’s keen eye aided in the arrest of a couple from Iowa who had kidnapped a young woman.

Walmart joins the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and more than 100 companies registered with Truckers Against Trafficking, including 32 other state trucking associations and more than 100,000 individual trained employees. Individual drivers and companies can register by going to TAT’s website and clicking “TAT Trained.”

 

First drop in freight service index in five months

The Freight Transportation Service Index for December decreased by 0.1 percent from November to 123.8. December marks the first decrease after five months of increases, falling just short of the all-time high of 123.9 in November, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Trucking, rail carloads and waterborne were the only modes to experience some growth in December. Although employment was up in December, inventory numbers were down, which directly affects freight. TSI has gone up 30.9 percent since April 2009, when the index was at a historic low of 94.6.

Freight shipments are up 4.2 percent from December 2013, 21.8 percent from five years ago, and 11.4 percent from 10 years ago.

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

 

Ritchie Bros. auctioning more than 10,000 heavy equipment items

Industrial auctioneer Ritchie Bros. will be selling more than 10,000 equipment items at its auction in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 16-20.

Everything from tractors to excavators to pickup trucks will be sold during the five-day auction. All items will be sold without minimum bids or reserve prices. Interested parties can bid on the equipment in person, online at rbauction.com, and through a representative.

Below is the auction schedule:

  • Day One (Feb. 16) – 275-plus boom lifts, 240-plus telescopic forklifts, 185-plus forklifts, 165-plus scissorlifts, 120-plus skid steer loaders, 100-plus multi-terrain loaders, as well as dumpers, brooms, utility vehicles and more.
  • Day Two (Feb. 17) – 250-plus wheel loaders, 190-plus loader backhoes, 105-plus motor graders, 95-plus articulated dump trucks, as well as trenchers, directional drills, forestry equipment, agricultural tractors, light towers, generator sets and more.
  • Day Three (Feb. 18) – 480-plus compactors, 215-plus crawler tractors, 55-plus cranes, as well as aggregate, environmental and agricultural equipment and more.
  • Day Four (Feb. 19) – 415-plus excavators, 190-plus van trucks, 85-plus mechanics trucks, 80-plus dump trucks, as well as water trucks, fuel and lube trucks, utility trucks, street sweepers and more.
  • Day Five (Feb. 20) – 300-plus truck tractors, 115-plus pickup trucks, 75-plus flatbed trucks, 65-plus lowboys, as well as hiboys, equipment trailers, automobiles and more.


For a complete and up-to-date list of items selling in the Orlando auction, visit rbauction.com/Orlando.

 

January marks first net job loss in nearly a year for transport sector

Indicative of a slower season typical for this time of year, transportation jobs experienced a loss industry-wide for January. Truck transportation – the subsector – did record some minimal growth. The transportation sector lost 8,600 jobs in January, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Truck transportation subsector jobs received a relatively modest gain of 2,400 jobs, for a total of more than 1.4 million jobs. More than 7,000 truck transportation jobs were added in December. Trucking jobs gained the most in the transportation and warehousing sector, with most subsectors receiving losses or minimal gains. Couriers and messengers lost 14,100 jobs, the largest decline in the sector. In December, couriers and messengers received the second-largest gain with a scant 700 jobs.

January’s transportation job loss is a significant decrease from December, which saw a gain of nearly 3,100. November gained nearly 17,000 jobs. Last month is the first time since February 2014 that the transportation sector as a whole experienced a net loss. 

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.79 for January, down 7 cents from December. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased by 8 cents to $20.66. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries increased by 12 cents to $24.75. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.2 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 7.5 percent from 10.0 percent last January. The overall unemployment rate for the country made little change at 5.7 percent. The number of long-term unemployed remained relatively stagnant for January, but has decreased by 828,000 in the past 12 months.

 

Have a cup of coffee with Daimler and Team Run Smart at Papa John’s

At the end of March, Daimler Trucks North America will be part of the party at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium parking lot at the 2015 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville. MATS, the trade show, is scheduled for March 26-28 – that’s Thursday, Friday and Saturday – but the festivities at Papa John’s run from Tuesday to Sunday morning.

For the party, DTNA will have a hospitality trailer on site where you can get a hot cup of coffee and meet the Team Run Smart Pros – Bob and Linda Caffee, Joey Slaughter, Jimmy Nevarez, Henry Albert and Jeff Clark. All are OOIDA members.

Albert’s truck will be on display, as well as the Caffees’ new Freightliner Cascadia (stop by and see if you can find all the hidden Mickey Mouses in their custom sleeper). Detroit Diesel will have its display trailer onsite, too, and engineers on hand to answer your questions. The Daimler trailer and Detroit Diesel trailer will be open Thursday 8:00-11:00 a.m. and 6:00-9:00 p.m. On Friday, they’ll be open 8:00-10:00 a.m. and 6:00-9:00 p.m.; on Saturday stop by 8:00-9:00 a.m. and 6:00-9:00 p.m.

 

TA and Petro will sponsor Papa John’s parking lot for MATS 2015

TravelCenters of America is once again the official sponsor of the Papa John’s parking lot this year during the Mid-America Trucking Show March 26-28 in Louisville, Ky. The events that take place at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium are a sideshow to the monster truck show planned at the Kentucky Expo Center the last week in March.

As a special treat for its UltraOne trucking customers, TA and Petro will have a temperature-controlled shower trailer. Showers are free for UltraOne platinum members; $3 for active UltraOne cardholders and $8 for non-UltraOne drivers. If you sign up for UltraOne, it’s only $5. The shower trailer offers eight showers per half-hour time slots and that includes cleaning time for the porters. You must be a CDL holder to use the showers.

TA and Petro Marketing Manager Joan O’Clair says per drivers’ requests last year, TravelCenters is extending the available shower times (earlier in the morning and later in the evening) to accommodate drivers’ schedules during the show. TravelCenters is also making the shower reservation process easier, by offering the option to reserve from out in the lot as well as in the TA and Petro booth No. 19156 in the Expo Center.

 

Spot market for truck freight continue to decline

Typical of the January season, spot rates for freight decreased or remained unchanged across the board for the fifth consecutive week for the week ending Saturday, Jan. 31. This is compared with the prior week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.  

Van rates declined by 2 cents to $1.94. Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.08. Los Angeles dipped slightly below the national average for the first time this year. Rates for the month of January are down 3.7 percent from the previous month, but have remained stagnant since January 2014. Load-to-truck ratios went down 25 percent to 2.0 loads per truck. Only four states – Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota and Vermont – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater. Compared with previous weeks, this is the fewest number of states having a higher ratio, indicative of the downward seasonal trend.

Reefer rates lost 3 cents to $2.24 compared with the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.81. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates of $1.53. Compared with January 2014, reefer rates are up 8.7 percent. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 11 percent to 6.1 from 6.9 in the previous week. A large portion of the states west of the Mississippi River had ratios in excess of 12 loads per truck.

Flatbed rates were unchanged at $2.21. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.29. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.57. Rates are down 3.5 percent for the month, but are up 5.7 percent in the last 12 months. There were 10.0 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 0.2 percent decrease from the last week resulting in no change of the ratio. Eighteen states across the country have a ratio of 18 or higher.

 

Spot freight rates experiencing seasonal decline

Reflecting the winter seasonal trend, spot rates decreased across the board for the fourth consecutive week for the week ending Saturday, Jan. 24. This is compared with the prior week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.  

Van rates declined by 2 cents to $1.96. Los Angeles and Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.00 and $2.11, respectively. Rates for the month of December are up 7.2 percent from December 2013. Load-to-truck ratios went down 30 percent to 2.2 loads per truck. Several northwestern states – including Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana – had a load-to-truck ratio greater than 5.5. Only 11 states have a 5.5 ratio, which is lower than previous weeks, indicative of the downward seasonal trend.

Reefer rates lost 2 cents to $2.27 compared with the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.81, whereas Lakeland, Fla., had low rates of $1.53. Compared with December 2013, reefer rates are up 14 percent. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 32 percent to 6.9 from 10.1 in the previous week. Most states west of the Mississippi River had ratios in excess of 12 loads per truck.

Flatbed rates went down 4 cents to $2.21. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.98. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.85. Rates are down 0.9 percent for the month, but are up 5.5 percent in the last 12 months. There were 10.0 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 28 percent decrease from the last week. Nearly half the states have a ratio of 18 or higher.

 

Marten Transport sets record-breaking quarter

Wisconsin-based truckload carrier Marten Transport has reported its highest net income and operating revenue in its history.

Marten’s 2014 fourth quarter net income increased by 22.8 percent to $9 million. For the year, net income decreased to $29.8 million when compared to 2013’s $30.1 million. Operating revenue went up 4.4 percent to $173.5 million in the fourth quarter and up to $672.9 million for the year compared to $659.2 in 2013. Operating revenue consists of revenue from truckload, dedicated, intermodal and brokerage operations.

Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue went down to 88.7 percent in the fourth quarter, an improvement from 90.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013. Percentages for the year were 90.7 percent compared with 90.2 percent in 2013.

Marten Transport was founded by Roger Marten in 1946. Marten specializes in transporting and distributing food and other consumer packaged goods that require a temperature-controlled or insulated environment.

 

Iowa 80 joining the blogosphere

Iowa 80 has launched a new blog at iowa80.com/blog/. Titled “Trucker Tips,” the blog will feature articles on a variety of topics for truckers, including company drivers and owner-operators. Current and former drivers will be writing the blog entries.

The blog that is currently posted is “Winter Preparedness – What You Need to Know” by OOIDA Life Member Heather Hogeland and OOIDA Member Kim Grimm.

Hogeland lives in Bullhead City, Ariz., and Grimm hails from Sun Prairie, Wisc. Both are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving.

“Our goal is to assist drivers in being safe, healthy and productive. We really hope that many find the information useful and will pass it on for others to benefit from too,” General Manager Deanna Slack said in a press release.

 

Detroit Radiator sponsoring Truck Drivers Health.org

Detroit Radiator has announced its official sponsorship of Truck Drivers Health.org.

Detroit Radiator will assist Truck Drivers Health.org with their traveling campaign, which promotes good health and exercise to truckers. As part of the campaign, the health advocacy organization will have a demonstration explaining the differences between a healthy and unhealthy driver with the use of a healthy and unhealthy truck.

Speaking a language that truckers can understand, an out-of-shape driver with 20 years of experience will be represented by an old 1995 Western Star show truck. Highlighting the transformation a healthy lifestyle can lead to, Truck Drivers Health.org will rebuild the aging show truck while explaining tips on a healthier driver and a healthier truck.

The campaign will span across two years, starting at the 2015 Mid-American Truck Show on March 26-26 and ending at MATS 2017. During that time, the truck can be seen at approximately 60 truck shows and more than 350 trucking industry companies.

For more information about the campaign, visit truckdrivershealth.org.

 

Mack offering discounted rate for returning veterans

Continuing a program honoring veterans, Mack will offer special financing terms for recently returning U.S. military veterans.

Veterans who have been honorably discharged of active duty within the past 24 months can qualify for a half percent discount off of an approved finance rate from Mack Financial Services acquired through a Mack dealer. Possession of a valid commercial driver’s license is also required. Members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard are eligible.

Truck must be delivered and funded by Dec. 31, 2015. The discounted rate will only be available for a maximum of three units per qualifying veteran.

For more information, visit macktrucks.com.

 

C.R. England increases pay for driver trainers

Another carrier can be added to an increasing list of trucking companies giving drivers more money. C.R. England has increased wages for their company driver trainers in the national and regional division, according to a press release.

Beginning Monday, Jan. 19, all driver trainers in the national and regional division of C.R. England will receive an average 14.5 percent increase in pay. More specifically, trainers will be paid an additional 4 cents for all training miles.

 

November another positive month for the freight service index

The Freight Transportation Service Index for November increased by 0.8 percent from October to 123.2. September’s increase marks the fifth consecutive month of a rise in the index, making the 123.2 index an all-time high, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Trucking, air freight, pipeline and waterborne modes were the main contributors to November’s growth. Increases in employment, retail sales, manufacturing and industrial production, and an all-time high in inventories were economic factors affecting positive change for transportation. TSI has gone up 30.2 percent since April 2009, when the index was at a historic low of 94.6.

Freight shipments are up 3.5 percent from last November, 21.8 percent from five years ago, and 10.1 percent from 10 years ago.

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

 

St. Christopher Fund: 2014 was a blockbuster year helping drivers

The St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund is a truck driver charity that helps drivers whose medical problems have led to financial hardship. As it begins a new year, the fund is well on its way to $1 million in assistance.

The SCF reported recently that in 2014, the charity has given a total of $855, 236 since the charity’s inception in 2007. A total of 1,118 drivers have been helped.

In 2014, the SCF gave financial assistance 449 times in the amount of $317,627 to 373 drivers in need. In 2013, the organization gave $193,339 to qualifying truckers and their families. The top reason for applications was cardiology, including all heart conditions such as high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, coronary artery disease and heart attacks.

Executive Director Dr. Donna Kennedy is calling 2014 a blockbuster year for the fund. Kennedy said during the month of December, the St. Christopher Fund sent checks in the total amount of $47,236, divided among 50 applicants.

“In just one week we gave $20,759 to support beneficiaries,” said Shannon Currier, operations manager and director of philanthropy and development. “That’s a lot of checks in one week.”

In December, Tom Liutkus was elected as president of the SCF Board of Directors. Liutkus is vice president of marketing and public relations for TravelCenters of America and has served on the board for several years. Joyce Brenny, CEO of Brenny Transportation was elected as vice president. Land Line Editor-in-Chief Sandi Soendker was elected secretary, and Tom Heinz of Coffee Cup Fuel Stops was elected treasurer.

Other members of the board are Tim Ridley of Nemo Entertainment; Linda Caffee, owner-operator from Silex, Mo.; Buck Black, Licensed Clinical Social Worker; and Rick Ash, owner-operator from Lakewood, Colo., and chairman of the Trucking Solutions Group.

SCF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Along with assistance, the SCF also conducts health research to benefit truck drivers and the trucking industry. 

On Feb. 16-18, representatives of the St. Christopher Fund will be at the Natso show in Las Vegas and March 26-28 in Louisville for the Mid-America Trucking Show.

For more information, visit truckersfund.org or send a letter to P.O. Box 30763, Knoxville, Tenn. 37930. 

 

CAT Scales’ new app makes weighing in easier, faster

CAT Scale and Electronic Funds Source LLC (EFS) have teamed up to offer a new form of payment for drivers using CAT Scale’s new Weigh My Truck mobile app. EFS’s involvement will allow truckers to never leave their vehicle at the weigh station.

Drivers can link their EFS card to the Weigh My Truck app. Upon registering an account at weighmytruck.com, users simply use their EFS card as the form of payment and download the app. After weighing in at any of CAT Scale’s 1,550 locations, the app uses the phone’s GPS location to verify the payment. Acknowledge the transaction on the phone, and voila – time to go without ever having to exit the vehicle.

“We’ve seen a significant positive impact on hours of service and driver satisfaction among our customers using this mobile app payment solution, as drivers are spending less time weighing and more time on the road,” said Senior Vice President of Merchant Services for EFS Karl Kelley in a press release.

The Weigh My Truck app is available for free at both the Apple App Store and Google Play for Android devices.

 

Spot rates continue to drop with fuel surcharges

Declining fuel surcharges continue to lower spot rates for the week ending Jan. 10 compared with the prior week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. Freight availability both made significant gains of 51 percent and 69 percent, respectively.

Van rates declined by 6 cents to $2.01. Los Angeles and Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.28 and $2.23, respectively. Rates for the month of December are up 7.2 percent from last year. Load-to-truck ratios went down 11 percent after a week of increases to 3.9 loads per truck. Several northwestern states – including Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana – had a load-to-truck ratio greater than 5.5. Nevada, New Mexico and Ohio no longer had a 5.5 or greater ratio.

Reefer rates lost 3 cents to $2.35 compared with the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $3.13, whereas Lakeland, Fla., had low rates of $1.94. Compared with last December, reefer rates are up 14 percent. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 4.0 percent to 13.4 from 13.9 in the previous week. Most states west of the Mississippi River had ratios in excess of 12 loads per truck. Ohio dropped out of the states surpassing 12 loads.

Flatbed rates went down 2 cents to $2.29. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.98. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.85. Rates are down 0.9 percent for the month, but are up 5.5 percent in the last 12 months. There were 16.5 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 28 percent decrease from the last week. Ohio and New York were among a handful of states with higher ratios of 18 loads per truck or more. Nevada and New Mexico – usually on the higher end – dipped below greater-than-average load ratios.

 

Motor sports fan? MAVTV is the go-to place

Top competitors are going head-to-head this week in the 29th running of the world famous Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals presented by General Tire at the River Spirit Expo Center, Tulsa, Okla., Jan. 13-17, 2015. With 326 entries and 318 drivers from 36 states plus Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, the final entry total will be the largest yet – and MAVTV will be on-hand to broadcast all the side-by-side action live again this year.

Known as the Super Bowl of Midget racing – the 2015 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals gathers together the stars of American racing including Midgets, Late Model Dirt, Super Modified, World of Outlaws, IndyCar, NHRA and NASCAR. Last year, when Brian Clausen denied Kevin Swindell his fifth straight title and took the chequered flag on the final lap, history was in the making with a new first-time winner and three-hour live television coverage by MAVTV. Dave Despain hosted last year’s broadcast and will return again for 2015. 

According to Bob Patison, President of MAVTV, “Last year’s Chili Bowl airing produced one of the highest-rated shows on the network and we expect even better results in 2015.” 

With programming such as the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl, Lucas Oil Drag Boats, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing, Late Model Dirt, Lucas Oil Modified, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross, the FIA World Rally Championship and Pirelli World Challenge, MAVTV has become the go-to place for motorsports fans.

In addition to Dish Network and DirecTV satellite services, MAVTV is currently available on Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon and Charter, along with many others.

 

Maverick increases pay for new and experienced drivers

Keeping up with the trend of higher wages, Maverick Transportation has announced increases to its pay scale for 2015, including pay for experience and larger mileage pay.

Experienced drivers with at least one year of over-the-road driving will start at a higher pay scale. Each year of experience can lead to a higher rate. Depending on which division the driver enters, average pay can range between $60,800 and $66,500.

New drivers entering Maverick’s student program will also receive increases for mileage. Drivers with a new Class A CDL can earn an average of $53,000 their starting year. This pay also applies to truckers with less than six months of experience. Average earnings of $57,500 will be paid to those with 6-12 months of experience.

Back in July 2014, Maverick offered new drivers its Pay for Performance program. Originally only available after several months, drivers’ pay could increase by 2 to 4 cents per mile as soon as they start driving on their own. Around the same time, Maverick celebrated the grand opening of its driver training center expansion, which added more than 13,000 square feet to the facility.

 

December good for trucking jobs, slow for transportation growth overall

Transportation jobs experienced slow growth industry-wide for December, but truck transportation had a strong month. The transportation sector only gained 3,100 jobs in December, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Truck transportation subsector jobs received a large gain of 7,300 jobs, for a total of more than 1.4 million jobs. Only 3,000 truck transportation jobs were added in November. Trucking jobs gained the most in the transportation and warehousing sector, with most subsectors receiving losses or minimal gains. Air transportation lost 2,800 jobs, the largest decline in the sector. Couriers and messengers received the second-largest gain with a scant 700 jobs.

December’s transportation job addition is a significant decrease from November, which saw a gain of nearly 17,000. October gained more than 13,000 jobs, whereas September saw sluggish gains at just under 2,000 additions. December has been a slow month for the transportation industry the past two years with a net loss of 600 jobs in both 2013 and 2012.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.92 for December, up 2 cents from November. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $20.72. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries decreased by 5 cents to $24.57. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 1.7 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.1 percent from 8.4 percent last December. The overall unemployment rate for the country dropped to 5.8 percent, a 0.2 percent decrease from the previous month. The number of long-term unemployed remained relatively stagnant for December, but has decreased by 1.1 million in the past 12 months.

 

Con-way Freight employees vote ‘no union’ at Bakersfield terminal

In a union representation election conducted this week by the National Labor Relations Board, employees at Con-way Freight’s facility in Bakersfield, Calif., voted to reject representation by the Teamsters Union.

Con-way announced in a press release that the Bakersfield vote marks the fifth election defeat for the Teamsters, who have been attempting to organize employees at various Con-way Freight facilities for the past five months.

The Bakersfield vote follows previous Teamster defeats in elections at Con-way Freight facilities in Santa Fe Springs and San Fernando Valley, Calif., Manchester, N.H., and Harlingen, Texas. Earlier, the Teamsters withdrew a petition for a vote at Con-way Freight's facility in Irvine, Calif. Petitions often are withdrawn when a union believes it can’t capture enough votes to win.

According to a press release, Con-way Freight currently does not have a contract with the Teamsters Union at any of its nearly 300 locations in the U.S.

Con-Way Freight is a major less-than-truckload freight transportation company, a subsidiary of Con-way Inc.

 

Peterbilt’s 75th anniversary show: One for the records

In mid-December, Peterbilt customers, enthusiasts and employees past and present came by the thousands to Stockton, Calif., to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Peterbilt Motors Co.

The trucks lined up four wide from one end of the San Joaquin Fairgrounds to the other – 351 Peterbilt trucks in all.According to the truck manufacturer, it was the largest collection of Peterbilt trucks ever assembled, and likely the largest collection of a single brand of vehicle ever gathered in one place.

“It was impressive beyond words. The turnout exceeded even my high expectations. With the exception of two or three, every model of Peterbilt ever manufactured was represented here – from the first chassis in 1939 to the latest Model 579,” said Rick McClerkin, who created and organized the event for his love of Peterbilt trucks.

McClerkin, a former employee of Coast Counties Peterbilt in San Jose, Calif., and owner of Roadway Antique Trucks, said the event also helped raise more than $42,000 for charities. Among the fundraising activities was a raffle for a Peterbilt Model 359 that raised more than $8,000 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and an auction for donated truck accessories that raised approximately $22,000 for the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

In addition to the display of trucks, a peoples’ choice truck beauty contest and a Peterbilt history presentation, more than 120 current and retired Peterbilt employees and their families caught up and reminisced during a special luncheon.

Also on display was the Peterbilt anniversary tour trailer that has visited more than 100 Peterbilt dealerships throughout North America this year, attracting tens of thousands of visitors. The trailer is a custom-built, double-expandable 53-foot trailer with Peterbilt memorabilia, interactive displays, a history wall display, a Paccar MX-13 engine, and cab and sleeper cutaways of Peterbilt’s new Models 579 and 567.

The peoples’ choice truck beauty contest at the show gave awards in four categories: Antique Cabover Bobtail, Antique Conventional Bobtail (1990 and older), Contemporary Bobtail (1991 and newer) and Combo (truck and trailer). The winners are:

Antique Cabover Bobtail
First place
– Wayne Newhouse, 1955 Peterbilt Model 350
Second place – Donald Bourgeois, 1971 Peterbilt Model 282
Third place – George Van Dyke, Peterbilt Model 352


Antique Conventional Bobtail
First place
– Juan Gonzalez, 1957 Model 351
Second place – Jessie Maggini, 1962 Peterbilt Model 351
Third place – Fremont Fire Department Local 1689, 1939 S100 Fire Truck


Contemporary Bobtail
First place
– Guy Schrno, 1998 Peterbilt Model 379
Second place – Forrestt Noble, 2013 Peterbilt Model 389
Third place – Michael Dusi, 2013 Peterbilt Model 389


Combo
First place
– Ray Rodriguez, 2015 Peterbilt Model 389
Second place – Chris Hasty, 2008 Peterbilt Model 389
Third place – Jerry Mies, 2013 Peterbilt Model 389

 

Fuel surcharges affect van spot rates; reefers and flatbeds go up

Declining fuel surcharges resulted in a small drop for vans for spot rates for the week ending Jan. 3 compared with the prior week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. Reefers and flatbeds had a small gain.

Van rates dropped a penny to $2.07. Los Angeles and Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.42 and $2.31, respectively. Rates for the month of December are up 7.2 percent from last year. Load-to-truck ratios went up 30 percent after a week of decline to 4.3 loads per truck. Several states – including Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio and New York – have a load-to-truck ratio greater than 5.5.

Reefer rates managed to increase 2 cents to $2.38 compared with the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $3.11, whereas Lakeland, Fla., had low rates of $2.02. Compared with last December, reefer rates are up 14 percent. Load-to-truck ratios increased by 37 percent to 13.9 from 10.2 in the previous week. Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, New York and several more states had ratios in excess of 12 loads per truck.

Flatbed rates went up a penny to $2.31. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.98. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.85. Rates are down 0.9 percent for the month, but are up 5.5 percent in the last 12 months. There were 22.9 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 24 percent increase from last week. As with reefer and van loads, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, and New York were among a handful of states with higher ratios of 18 loads per truck or more.

 

Shell Rotella 2015 SuperRigs calendars now available

There are only a few more days to cross off before everyone will need to replace their calendars. Kittens and landscapes with inspirational quotes are nice, but trucks are so much cooler. The 2015 Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar is now available, featuring 12 of the coolest trucks on the road.

The 2007 Peterbilt 379 featured on the cover belongs to Jackie Lewis, Grayson, Ky. He has driven millions of miles throughout the Midwest over the last 35 years. In the 2014 SuperRigs competition, Lewis won third place in the tractor/trailer division with the 2007 Pete and 2007 Mac B-trains and was chosen for the cover.

Supplementing the truck photo featured each month is the story behind the truck and its owner.

The Shell Rotella SuperRigs competition is the premier truck beauty contest for actively working trucks. Owner/operator truckers from across the United States and Canada compete for cash and prizes each year.  

SuperRigs 2015 calendars can be purchased at rotella.com

 

ATD announces 2015 Commercial Truck of the Year nominees

Every year, truckers and their custom trucks receive awards from a wide range of competitions. It’s that time of year when the original equipment manufacturers go head-to-head. Three nominees for the 2015 Commercial Truck of the Year have been announced by the American Truck Dealers.

International’s WorkStar 7600, Kenworth’s T880 Vocational Truck with Paccar MX-13 Engine, and Peterbilt’s Model 567 have all received nods from an ATD panel.

A panel of judges will test drive and evaluate the trucks at Manheim San Francisco Bay on Jan. 19. Land Line Magazine Field Editor Suzanne Stempinski is on the judging panel.

Categories include innovation, design, safety, driver ergonomics and comfort. The winner will be announced on Saturday, Jan. 24, at the 2015 ATD Convention and Expo in San Francisco.

In addition to the award ceremony, the ATD convention will include keynote remarks from ATD Chairman and CEO of JX Enterprises Eric Jorgensen and Thomas Frey, executive director and senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute.

For more information on the convention, go to atdconvention.org. Images and profiles of the nominees can be viewed here.

 

Michelin offers new dealer locator app

Technology is allowing truckers to take care of business at their fingertips anywhere on the road. Michelin Americas Truck Tires is adding to that convenience with its upgraded dealer locator app.

Specifically designed to be used on the go, the new app offers drag and drop capabilities, type-ahead functionality, more search options, and one-click access to all key dealer information. Using Google Maps, drivers can search for dealer locations by address, city state and ZIP code or by latitude and longitude. From there, users can further drill down to dealers with specific products and services.

By searching “Michelin Truck,” you can find the free app on the iTunes App Store for iPhones and through the Google Play store for iOS and Android devices.

 

Dart increases driver wages, offers other perks

The Dart Network, a dry van carrier, announced a pay increase for its drivers. Truckers for Dart will receive anywhere from a 2-cent to 10-cent-per-mile increase.

Average wage increases will be 5 cents per mile. Owner-operators contracted with Dart will also receive a fuel adjustment and accessorial pay. Company drivers will receive a fuel bonus.

Dart is also offering sign-on bonuses for incoming drivers of any type. Owner-operators will receive a $5,000 signing bonus. Company drivers and owner-operators who do not own their own truck can receive a $3,000 bonus. Dart driver finishing program graduates are eligible to receive $1,500.

 

Freight Transportation Service Index maintains record high

The Freight Transportation Service Index for October increased by 0.3 percent from September to 121.8. October’s increase marks the fourth consecutive month of a rise in the index, making the 121.8 index an all-time high, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Employment and retail sales both increased in October, contributing to the TSI growth. Inventories reaching a historic high were also a factor. TSI has gone up 28.8 percent since April 2009, when the index was at 94.6.

Freight shipments are up 2.2 percent from last October, 23.9 percent from five years ago, and 9.2 percent from 10 years ago.

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

 

Freightliner Cascadias, other vehicles recalled for brake issues

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recalled 2,765 Freightliner Cascadias due to issues with the Meritor WABCO service brakes. Nearly 4,000 other vehicles with the same components are also being recalled.

Freightliner Cascadias manufactured July 22, 2013, to Oct. 13, 2014, that use the WABCO Quick Release Valves with Double Check manufactured Feb. 6, 2013, to April 19, 2014, may have a defective valve seat. Other vehicles with the Meritor WABCO Vehicle Control System using the same service brakes within the above manufactured date range are also affected. Due to improper seating, valves may adjust air pressure levels, which may affect the performance of the brakes.

Owners of affected Freightliners will be notified by Daimler. The recall is expected to begin Jan. 3, 2015. Owners may contact Daimler customer service at 800-745-8000. Daimler's number for this recall is FL-673.

Owners of other vehicles affected by the recall will be notified by Meritor WABCO. The recall is expected to begin Dec. 12, 2014. Owners may contact Meritor WABCO at 248-435-8001. Meritor WABCO's identification number for this recall is C15AA.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline can be reached at 888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to safercar.gov to check the recall status of any vehicle.

 

Howes Lubricator offering Sage Truck Driving School scholarships

Through its new program, the Howes Truckers of Tomorrow, Howes Lubricator Products is now offering scholarships for all 25 Sage Truck Driving Schools. Each scholarship is for $1,000. 

One student at each Sage location will receive the scholarship, which is available in 2015. Applicants must meet all trucking industry qualifications and demonstrate a financial need.

This will be the first year Howes has offered the scholarship. The maintenance and additive product company plans to continue the scholarship in ensuing years. With 25 locations, Sage provides one-on-one CDL training of entry-level commercial truck drivers and driver training.

For more details, call 800-438-4693.

 

Holland to hire 500 veterans

More and more trucking industry companies are hiring veterans each year. Time to add another to the list. Next-day transportation service Holland has announced that it will hire 500 veterans.

As part of its growth and expansion, the Michigan company has partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes and FASTPORT. Launched in 2011, Hiring Our Heroes is a nationwide initiative to help veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment. FASTPORT develops user-friendly technology to aid carriers in their hiring process.

“America is at a turning point with an estimated 1 million veterans returning home in the next five years,” said Scott Ware, president of Holland, in a press release. “Our business is expanding and job opportunities abound. Holland is proud to welcome home our veterans with great career prospects.”

Founded in Holland, Mich., in 1929, Holland provides next-day less-than-truckload shipments in the Central and Southeastern United States and Eastern Canada. Holland provides full-state regional delivery from 57 service centers in 12 states and two provinces: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, as well as Ontario and Quebec, Canada.

 

River States donates more than $5,000 to Toys for Tots

It is that time of year where the trucking industry shows its true spirit. River States Truck and Trailer has donated more than $5,000 to Toys for Tots.

River States’ donation for 2014 marks the 13th consecutive year that the heavy-duty truck distributor, which is based in Wisconsin, has supported Toys for Tots. The charity collects toys for underprivileged children across the country.

Throughout the year, River States collects donations from employees who want to wear jeans on Friday. This year, the employees at the La Crosse, Eau Claire and Roberts, Wis., locations gathered up more than $5,000. The money was used to purchase toys for children ages 3 months to 13 years.

 

Spot rates go up for all modalities during holiday season

Holiday demand increased rates across the board for the week ending Dec. 6 compared with the prior week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. Flatbed rates remained stagnant.

Van rates went up 5 cents to $2.10. Los Angeles and Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.46 and $2.32, respectively. Rates for the month of November are up 9.6 percent from last year. Load-to-truck ratios went up 1.8 percent to 4.5 loads per truck. Several states – including Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio and New York – have a load-to-truck ratio greater than 5.5.

Reefer rates received a 4-cent increase to $2.41 compared with the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $3.25, whereas a lower rate of $1.60 hit Lakeland, Fla. Compared with last November, reefer rates are up 17 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went up to 12.6 from 11.6 in the previous week. Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, New York and several more states had ratios in excess of 12 loads per truck.

Flatbed rates increased by 2 cents to $2.33, the first increase in several weeks. Harrisburg, Pa., had an exceptionally high rate of $3.96. Phoenix marked a low rate of $2.07. Rates are down 1.7 percent for the month, but are up 10 percent in the last 12 months. There were 18.2 loads per truck for flatbeds, an 8.9 percent increase from last week. As with reefer and van loads, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, and New York were among a handful of states with higher ratios of 18 loads per truck or more.

 

Trucks leading transport in 2012 Commodity Flow Survey

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau have released final estimates from the 2012 Commodity Flow Survey. Trucking continues to be the leading transportation modality.

Since the last survey in 2007, tonnage and ton-miles went down 9.9 percent and 11.2 percent, respectively. Value amount for commodities increased by 18.5 percent, but is not adjusted for inflation.

Trucking accounted for 73.1 percent of the value and 71.3 percent of the tonnage for shippers’ cargo. Overall, trucks shipped out 8.1 billion tons of goods valued at $10.1 trillion. Approximately 1.2 trillion ton-miles were traveled to transport the commodities.

Mixed freight led the commodities categories with the largest value of $1.4 trillion, followed by gasoline at $1.2 trillion and electronics and vehicles (including parts), both at $1.03 trillion. The manufacturing industry contributed the most tonnage at 4.2 billion tons, whereas the wholesale industry contributed the most value at $6.1 trillion.

The Commodity Flow Survey, conducted as a partnership of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau, is the primary source of national and state-level data on domestic freight shipments in the United States. The CFS measures domestic freight shipments by American establishments in mining, manufacturing, wholesale, auxiliaries, and selected retail industries.

 

Transportation sector gains nearly 17,000 jobs in November

With the holiday season in full swing, transportation jobs are on the rise. The transportation sector gained 16,700 jobs in November, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Truck transportation subsectors jobs received a gain of 3,000 jobs, for a total of more than 1.4 million jobs. The only transportation subsector to gain more jobs was the couriers and messengers subsector at 4,700 additions.

November’s job addition is an increase from October, which saw a gain of 13,000. September saw sluggish gains at 5,000 additions. Although up from last month, November gains are half as much when much compared to last year. In November 2013, more than 30,000 transportation jobs were added.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.90 for November, down a penny from October. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $20.61. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries increased by 9 cents to $24.66. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up 2.1 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.0 percent from 9.0 percent last October. The overall unemployment rate for the country dropped to 5.8 percent in October, unchanged from last month which was the lowest rate since July 2008. The number of long-term unemployed remained relatively stagnant for November, but has decreased by 1.2 million in the past 12 months.

 

Van and reefer rates up, flatbed rates unchanged

Pre-Thanksgiving demand and bad weather increased van and reefer spot market rates for the week ending Nov. 29 when compared to the prior week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. Flatbed rates remained stagnant.

Van rates went up two cents to $2.05. Los Angeles and Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.60 and $2.49, respectively. Rates are up 9.6 percent from last year. Load-to-truck ratios went up 21 percent to 4.4 loads per truck. Several states – including Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio and New York – have a load-to-truck ratio greater than 5.5.

Reefer rates received a 3-cent increase to $2.37 compared to the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $3.24, whereas a lower rate of $1.66 hit Lakeland, Fla. Compared with last November, reefer rates are up 17 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went down to 11.6 from 12.6 in the previous week. Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, New York and several more states had ratios in excess of 12 loads per truck.

Flatbed rates remained at $2.31, stopping a steady decline from the previous weeks. Harrisburg, Pa., had an exceptionally high rate of $3.97. Meanwhile, $1.85 marked a low rate for Phoenix. Rates are down 1.7 percent for the month, but are up 10 percent in the last 12 months. There were 16.8 loads per truck for flatbeds, an increase in a month marked by decreases. As with reefer and van loads, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, and New York were among a handful of states with higher ratios of 18 loads per truck or more.

 

Texas carrier group donates $50,000 to Trucking Moves America Forward

The Texas Trucking Association Foundation announced that they will donate $50,000 to Trucking Moves America Forward over the next five years. Texas Trucking Association Foundation trustees voted to support TMAF in November.

“Trucking Moves America Forward is an educational tool that will not only further the understanding of our industry, but will also ignite a passion in others for what we do,” said TXTA President and CEO John D. Esparza in a press release.

TMAF was launched at the Mid-America Trucking Show back in March. According to its website, TMAF’s mission “is to establish a long-term industry-wide movement to create a positive image for the industry, to ensure that policymakers and the public understand the importance of the trucking industry to the nation’s economy, and to build the political and grassroots support necessary to strengthen and grow the industry in the future.”

Other financial contributors to TMAF include Pilot Flying J, Randall-Reilly, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Allied Committee for the Trucking Industry, Old Dominion Freight Lines and National Tank Truck Carriers.

 

Freightquote acquired by C.H. Robinson for $365 million

C.H. Robinson Worldwide, a Fortune 500 company offering third-party logistics, has acquired Freightquote.com for $365 million in cash, according to a press release.

C.H. Robinson will likely increase its existing revolving credit facility to finance the acquisition. Pending regulatory approval, the closing is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2015.

Tim Barton, founder and executive chairman of Freightquote, will serve as a consultant to Freightquote once the acquisition is complete. Barton founded the company in 1998, and the website was officially launched in 1999.

According to its website, Freightquote is the largest online U.S. freight shipping provider. Freightquote exceeds $600 million in annual revenue with more than 1 million shipments each year.

Founded in 1905, C.H. Robinson is one of the world’s largest third party logistics providers, with 2013 gross revenues of $12.8 billion, according to the company’s website. With a large focus on freight transport, the multibillion dollar company has offices across the globe.

 

NAFTA freight maintains healthy numbers

September was the seventh consecutive month for U.S.-NAFTA freight to exceed $100 billion with a freight flow of $102.2 billion, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistic’s TransBorder Freight Data.

All five transportation modes reported more freight compared with September 2013. Truck freight saw the second largest increase at 8.6 percent following only pipeline freight, which grew by 21.0 percent. Truck freight contributed the most of the $7.8 billion increase from last year with $4.9 billion. Trucks accounted for $31.2 billion of exports and $30.1 billion of imports.

U.S.-Canada freight moved by trucks increased by 6.0 percent from last year. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 11.5 percent. Of the $44.9 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 67.6 percent of the loads.

 

Van and reefer rates are up, flatbed rates slightly down

Van, refrigerated and flatbed capacity increased by 4.5 percent while available freight rose by 2.7 percent for the week ending Nov. 15, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Load-to-truck ratios went up for van and reefer loads, whereas flatbed ratios experienced a decrease when compared to the previous week. Van ratios rose to 3.0, reefer went up to 9.8 loads per truck, and flatbed ratios fell 10 percent to 16.8.

In addition to load-to-truck numbers, rates went slightly down for van freight at $2.02 per mile, maintaining a rate above $2. Reefer rates remained the same at $2.31 per mile, and flatbed rates had a typical decline for the season at $2.32 per mile.

Van rates for Los Angeles to Phoenix are at  $3.11 per mile. Other routes for vans with typically strong rates include Columbus to Buffalo ($3.64 per mile), Atlanta to Orlando ($2.74 per mile) Philadelphia to Boston ($3.68) and Dallas to Houston ($2.54)

 

CalArk increases wages, offers more benefits

Arkansas-based CalArk is the latest motor carrier to announce a pay increase for its drivers. Company drivers will soon see their wages hiked up 3 cents per mile.

The increase is slated to kick in on Dec. 2, and individual truckers driving for CalArk can also receive a 2 cents-per-mile bonus when logging more than 11,250 authorized miles each month. Teams working for the carrier can also collect the bonus, but must drive 19,200 miles in a one-month period.

In addition to the pay increase and monthly bonuses, CalArk will also offer major medical coverage and prescription coverage. At a cost of $45 each week, the medical coverage will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015.

 

Navistar introduces global disaster relief truck

Weather and other disastrous events often highlight the need for more emergency response vehicles with improved efficiency. Navistar and Terranova GTS have teamed up to fulfill that need.

During the Aid and International Development Forum Disaster Relief Summit in Washington, D.C., the two companies revealed the International DuraStar Multi-Purpose Vehicle. Designed to aid in disaster relief, the emergency vehicle is equipped with a variety of tools capable of responding to various disaster situations.

"This state-of-the-art multipurpose vehicle provides a critical resource to aid disaster relief efforts around the world,” said Tom Clevinger, Navistar senior vice president, Global Truck and Bus, in a press release.

Equipped with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-certified microbiological water purifier, the truck can purify 5,000 gallons of drinking water each day. In the event of a fire, the vehicle includes firefighting capabilities. For medical aid, the multipurpose vehicle is equipped with a mobile medical unit.

 

Fastport receives Hiring Our Heroes award

Fastport has been awarded the 4th Annual Hiring Our Heroes Capital One Small Business Veteran and Military Spouse Employment Award, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation announced in a press release.

Fastport’s JobMaps is a smartphone app that matches drivers with a job best fit for them and near their hometown. JobMaps calculates a user’s response to job listings to find the perfect match. Reviews from past drivers of a particular job are also featured.

OOIDA recently partnered with Fastport to help military veterans find jobs in trucking. As part of the agreement, OOIDA will provide online education to help veterans learn how to become owner-operators, how to pass a safety audit and how to figure cost of operations.

The Capital One Award for Small Business Veteran and Military Spouse Employment is awarded to companies with fewer than 500 employees who demonstrate leadership in hiring veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses.

Hiring Our Heroes launched in March 2011 as a nationwide initiative to help veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment. Working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s vast network of state and local chambers and other strategic partners from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, the goal is to create a movement across America in hundreds of communities where veterans and military families return every day.

See related story:

New campaign will help place military vets behind the wheel

 

Nussbaum increases driver pay, adds sign-on bonus

Truckers driving for Nussbaum Transportation will be bringing in the New Year on a high note. Drivers will be receiving a six percent pay increase effective on January 5, 2015, Nussbaum Director of HR/Safety Jeremy Stickling confirmed to Land Line.

With a base pay range from 42-52 cents per mile, the average pay at Nussbaum will be $63,000 per year. Weekly minimum guarantee is now $1,050 a week. The top 25 percent earning will be $68,000 per year, and the top 10 percent will be around $70,000 a year.

New hires who are employed by the first week of January will receive a $3,000 sign-on bonus. Other perks include a clean inspection bonus, years of service awards, personal finance class, holiday and vacation pay, 401k, insurance and more.

 

Freight Transportation Service Index reaches all-time high

The Freight Transportation Service Index for September increased by 0.3 percent from August to 121.5. September’s increase marks the third consecutive month of a rise in the index, making the 121.5 index an all-time high, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

With the exception of unchanged rail carloads numbers, all freight modes grew in September. The 2.3 percent third quarter increase is the highest growth since the fourth quarter of 2011 and is the only quarter this year to rise. TSI has gone up 28.5 percent since April 2009, when the index was at 94.6.

Freight shipments are up 4.2 percent from last September, 22.4 percent from five years ago, and 10.0 percent from 10 years ago.

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

 

Crete gives five vets inducted to Patriot Fleet new trucks

Crete Carrier Corp inducted five veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces into the Patriot Fleet last week during Veterans Day. Members of the special fleet each receive a customized Freightliner Cascadia wrapped with honorary military graphics.

Following a speech by Col. Chris Collins, Crete Carrier Corp. COO Tim Aschoff recognized the 11 current Patriot Fleet truckers. There are currently 15 trucks in the fleet with the new inductees. Keys to a new Cascadia were handed over to the five new members.

This year, Crete has received the American Legion Employer of Veterans Award and was winner for CivilianJobs.com’s Most Valuable Employers for Military list. Crete also received the Pro Patria Award from the Nebraska Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve and was a semifinalist for the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award last year. 

 

New Love’s location opens in Columbus, Mississippi

Love’s Travel Stops has announced a new location in Columbus, Miss., with 52 parking spaces. Opening its doors on Thursday, Nov. 13, the new Love’s sits at U.S. Highway 82 and State Highway 50.

Chester’s Chicken restaurant, seven showers and Love’s Truck Tire Care center are all available to truckers around the clock. Additionally, gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift merchandise, RFID cardless fueling technology and CAT scales are also featured at the new Love’s location.

 

Transportation sector gains 13,000 jobs in October

As the economy strengthens, both gas prices and the unemployment rate are going down. The transportation sector gained 13,000 in October, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nearly 4,000 jobs were created specifically for the truck transportation subsector, for a total of more than 1.4 million jobs. October’s job addition is a major increase from September, which only saw a gain of 5,000. August received as many as 11,000 new jobs. In October 2013, only 4,800 transportation jobs were added.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.91 for October, up a penny from September. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees remained unchanged at $20.57. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls increased by 3 cents to $24.57. When compared to a year ago, average earnings have gone up 2 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.4 percent from 9.5 percent last October. The overall unemployment rate for the country dropped to 5.8 percent in October, the lowest since July 2008. The number of long-term unemployed remained relatively stagnant for October, but has decreased by 1.1 million in the past 12 months.

 

Van spot rates remain steady for third straight week

Van, refrigerated and flatbed capacity decreased by 4.4 percent while available freight fell by 1.2 percent for the week ending Nov. 1, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Load-to-truck ratios remained steady for van and flatbed loads, whereas reefer ratios slightly increased when compared to the previous week. Van ratios remained at 2.6, reefer went up 1.8 percent to 7.8 loads per truck, and flatbed ratios stood at 17.9.

In addition to load-to-truck numbers, rates have remained static for van freight at $2.01 per penny, marking three straight weeks at that value. Reefer rates went down a penny to $2.26 per mile, and flatbed rates slid 1.3 percent to $2.35.

Van rates in Los Angeles have increased its already high rate to $2.37 per mile. Other cities with strong rates include Columbus, Ohio ($2.26 per mile), Atlanta ($2.03 per mile) and Buffalo ($2.11).

 

Forward Air acquires Multi-Modal

Central States Trucking Co., a subsidiary of Forward Air Corp., has acquired Multi-Modal Trucking Inc. and Multi-Modal Services Inc. for $5.75 million.

The purchase was made with Forward Air’s cash reserves. Last year, Multi-Modal generated $8.5 million in revenue. Multi-Modal will begin adding to earnings per share in 2015.

Based in Indianapolis, Ind., Multi-Modal provides intermodal drayage, devanning, transloading and warehousing services primarily within the Midwest region of the United States.

 

Pilot Flying J launches ‘Travel Well’ program

Launching a new brand identity, Pilot Flying J has announced its Travel Well program, a holiday journey leading up to Thanksgiving committed to improving life on the road for truckers. Upgrades to facilities and travel blogs from celebrities will be part of the program.

Travel Well on Nov. 1 will begin to promote the new program as well as food and facility upgrades at more than 650 locations. Pilot Flying J has invested $100 million in technology and amenities. Healthier and higher-quality food choices will be available at the PJ Fresh Marketplace, including handmade pizza.

Championing a healthier lifestyle, Pete Thomas from NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” has been tapped as a personal health advocate to help drivers meet their wellness goals. Reaching out to road warriors, NASCAR driver Michael Annett will focus on the best methods of making a pit stop at Pilot Flying J. Other blogs include family friendly traveling advice.

Travel Well will be featured through Pilot Flying J’s social media sites and official website

 

Pilot Flying J leasing diesel islands in Virginia

Pilot Flying J will be leasing the diesel islands at six locations in Virginia. The Pilot stores will be operated in connection with Speedway LLC. The six locations include:

  • Wytheville, Va. – Located off Interstates 81 and 77 at 1318 E. Lee Highway. Features Dunkin’ Donuts and Dairy Queen, as well as diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) at the pump and showers for professional drivers.
  • Toms Brook, Va. – Located off Interstate 81 at State Route 651 at 1014 Mt. Olive Road. Features Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway and Dairy Queen, as well as DEF at the pump and showers for professional drivers.
  • Raphine, Va. – Located off Interstates 81 and 64 at Exit 205 at 713 Oakland Circle. Features Dunkin’ Donuts and Wendy’s, as well as DEF at the pump and showers for professional drivers.
  • South Boston, Va. – Located off U.S. Highway 58 at 2190 Philpott Highway 58. Features Dunkin’ Donuts, as well as DEF at the pump and showers for professional drivers.
  • Disputanta, Va. – Located off Interstate 95 at Exit 47 at 4610 County Drive. Features Dunkin’ Donuts and Wendy’s, as well as DEF at the pump and showers for professional drivers.
  • Skippers, Va. – Located off State Route 629 at 781 Moores Ferry Road. Features Dunkin’ Donuts.

 

Mack Trucks reward OOIDA members for choosing Mack

Mack Trucks is offering a special incentive to active members of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association who purchase a new Mack truck model from a participating dealer between Oct. 22, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2015.

OOIDA members who make a qualifying purchase will receive a Mack Trucks Loyalty Reward card worth $1,500. This offer is available in the U.S. and Canada. 
 
As an added bonus, customers who finance their new truck with Mack Financial Services will receive an additional $500 on their card, for a total loyalty reward of $2,000. The loyalty reward cards are redeemable immediately and are valid through Dec. 31, 2016, at participating dealers. 

Qualifying vehicles include any new Mack Pinnacle, Granite or Titan either ordered or purchased from dealer inventory. The vehicles must be warranty registered between Oct. 22 and Dec. 31, 2015, to be eligible and a maximum of five loyalty reward cards are available per eligible purchaser. 

For additional information about the Mack Trucks Loyalty Reward program, please visit your local Mack Trucks dealer. For details on eligibility, call OOIDA at 800-444-5791 and ask for Trinette Rogers or Tammy Hodges.

 

Freight numbers for August remain strong

U.S.-NAFTA freight hit $100.6 billion in August, making it the sixth consecutive month to exceed $100 billion, according to TransBorder Freight Data.

With a $4.2 billion increase from last year, truck freight contributed the most with $1.9 billion. All five major modes of transportation – air, vessel, pipeline, rail and trucks – had better numbers in August compared with August 2013.

Trucks carry three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA freight and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks carried 59.6 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight in August 2014, accounting for $28.8 billion of imports and $31.2 billion of exports.

 

Spot market rates for week ending Oct. 18

Van, refrigerated and flatbed capacity increased by 5.6 percent while available freight decreased by 5.6 percent for the week ending Oct. 18, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Load-to-truck ratios decreased for all three equipment categories. Van ratios went down to 2.8 from 3.1, reefer went down 11 percent to 7.8 loads per truck, and flatbed ratios have decreased 8.6 percent to 21.9 loads per truck.

In addition to load-to-truck numbers, rates have also weakened. Van and flatbed rates both slipped 2 cents to $2.01 per mile while reefer rates decreased by a penny to $2.28 per mile.

Van rates in Los Angeles have been unusually high at $2.25 per mile. Other cities with strong rates include Columbus, Ohio ($2.31 per mile) and Buffalo ($2.40 per mile). Memphis rates went down 6 cents to $2.32.

 

Knight Transportation acquires Barr-Nunn

Trucking behemoth Knight Transportation has added another fleet to its portfolio. According to a news release, Knight has acquired dry van transportation company Barr-Nunn.

Purchased for $112.4 million by Knight, Barr-Nunn generated $119.8 million in total revenue in the last year. Headquartered near Des Moines, Iowa, Barr-Nunn has a fleet of approximately 550 trucks.

Barr-Nunn management, personnel, policies and culture will remain intact. In the news release, Knight assured driving associates, non-driving associates and customers that little change should be noticed after the transaction has been completed.

Specializing in expedited and service-sensitive marketplaces, Barr-Nunn operates mostly in eastern United States. Major manufacturers, consumer product companies, retailers and transportation and logistics providers are among Barr-Nunn’s customers. Leased facilities are located in Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

 

Canada approves full length rear-mounted aerodynamic devices

Canada’s Ministers of Transportation and Highway Safety have approved the use of rear-mounted aerodynamic devices like ATDynamics’ full-length TrailerTails within all Canadian provinces.

An amendment to the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Memorandum of Understanding on Interprovincial Weights and Dimensions, the new law is a result of ATDynamics’ work with Canadian and cross-border fleets to update vehicle length exemptions and regulations. Efforts to change the standards have been going on for seven years.

“After considerable research on the effectiveness and safety of rear-mounted aerodynamic devices, in December 2013 Transport Canada revised regulations to facilitate the use of larger aerodynamic devices on the rear of trucks and trailers,” said the Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat in a press release.

Until legislation goes into full effect, ATDynamics hopes for each province to issue permits or defer enforcement, allowing the use of full length TrailerTails. Ontario has not enforced the older law prohibiting full length TrailerTails since Aug. 11.

 

Pilot Flying J offering free showers

Pilot Flying J will be offering free daily showers and extended shower credits to drivers. The offer is available to truckers who pump more than 500 gallons of fuel in one month.

Using their MyRewards account, drivers will receive one free shower credit a day after pumping 500 gallons of fuel. Once 500 gallons have been purchased, the shower credits will be given through the remainder of the month.

Truck drivers will also receive a 10-day expiration on shower credits before hitting the 500 gallon mark each month. This is an extension of the five-day expiration period.

As part of an initiative to improve the lives of professional drivers, Pilot Flying J has launched a $50 million project to remodel restrooms at every location. Another $50 million project to remodel showers should be completed by the end of the year.

 

Goodyear introduces new fuel-efficient drive tire

Goodyear has introduced the Fuel Max LHD G505D, a drive tire that the company calls the most fuel-efficient long-haul drive tire in North America.

Goodyear claims that compared to the Michelin X Line Energy D, the G505D saves $1,444 of fuel per year on average, compared to competitors. According to the news release, these numbers are based on a Class 8 tractor-trailer combination truck with 6.50 miles per gallon, traveling 120,000 miles in a year and diesel fuel price at $4 per gallon.

Fuel Max LHD G505D tires also include enhanced all-season traction, Goodyear’s Tredlock Technology, and penetration protectors that help resist stone drilling.

 

U.S. Postal Service could deliver groceries, too

The United States Postal Service wants to deliver a bottle of cold milk and a carton of eggs to your doorstep and do it in the wee hours of the morning while you sleep. According to the Washington Post, the agency filed a proposal with the Postal Regulatory Commission last week asking federal regulators to allow it to expand a grocery delivery pilot program it has going in San Francisco to other cities.

USPS says the way it would work is that the customer would order groceries through Amazon. Then postal workers wearing lighted hats would place insulated tote bags on your porch between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. and leave without ringing the doorbell. 

The postal service figures a two-year test in various cities could bring in $20 million. 

 

Carrier Transicold using the sun to power TRUs

With all of the rules and regulations controlling the use of auxiliary power units and transport refrigeration units, it was a matter of time for technology to adapt with a solution. Carrier Transicold has introduced Thin-Film Flexible Solar Panels, an accessory that charges TRUs with the power of sunlight, according to a press release.

Providing a battery charge to TRUs in an environmentally-friendly way, the solar panel mats can be placed on the roofs of trailers, truck bodies and refrigerated rail cars. With other devices drawing power from a TRU, the battery can quickly drain when the TRU is turned off. With solar panels, exposure to daylight delivers a continuous charge to the TRU battery, alleviating the issues that arise from a weak or dead battery.

Fuel efficiency can improve with the use of solar panels by reducing the need to run the TRU engine to charge the battery, Carrier Transicold notes in a news release.

Thin-Film Flexible Solar Panels are available in 26-by-41-inch panels for wide, flat roofs and 14-by-80-inch panels for narrow corrugated roofs.

For more information, visit www.carrier.com/tru-solar

 

NAFTA freight exceeds $100 billion for fifth straight month

U.S.-NAFTA freight hit $101.1 billion in July, the fifth consecutive month exceeding $100 billion according to TransBorder Freight Data.

With a $7.9 billion increase from last year, truck freight contributed the most with $4.7 billion. All five major modes of transportation – air, vessel, pipeline, rail and trucks – had better numbers in July when compared to July 2013.

Trucks carry three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA freight and are the most heavily used mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks carried 59.2 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight in July 2014, accounting for $29.3 billion of imports and $30.5 billion of exports.

 

Bridgestone donates $1 million to combat Ebola in West Africa

Bridgestone Group announced this week that it will donate $1 million towards battling the Ebola epidemic in parts of Africa. Money donated will go toward public awareness, delivery of in-home care supplies, improving medical treatment, and supporting orphaned children as a result of the epidemic.

Bridgestone Americas will give $500,000 to Samaritan’s Purse to aid efforts in Liberia, and Bridgestone Corp. will donate $500,000 to UNICEF’s work in Liberia and Nigeria.

“The current Ebola outbreak is unprecedented and requires an urgent global response. UNICEF is racing against time to control the spread of the disease among children and families,” said Caryl Stern, U.S. Fund for UNICEF president and CEO, in a news release.  “We greatly appreciate the donation from Bridgestone Group, which will help UNICEF expand its critical work in West Africa.”

Firestone Liberia, a Bridgestone Americas subsidiary, has had 71 people associated with the company contract Ebola since the virus started to spread in Liberia. The recent $1 million donation comes after Firestone Liberia implemented an emergency response program on its rubber farm and nearby communities.

“Our Firestone Liberia teammates and community have selflessly met the demands of this deadly outbreak, and we support them and the great work Samaritan’s Purse and UNICEF are doing in the region to help protect the citizens of Liberia and West Africa,” said Gary Garfield, CEO and president of Bridgestone Americas Inc. in a press release.  “We implore others to step up in taking on this fight against Ebola.”

Bridgestone Americas is based in Nashville, Tenn., and Bridgestone Corp. headquarters are located in Tokyo, Japan. The Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. first established a natural rubber production facility in Liberia, West Africa, in 1926.

 

Spot rates down for the week, still up from a year ago

Spot truckload load volume fell 3.5 percent while capacity was unchanged for the week ending Sept. 20, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. 

Load-to-truck ratios also decreased for all three equipment categories. Van ratios went down 1.9 percent, reefer was down 3.1 percent, and flatbed ratios have decreased 5.6 percent.

In addition to load-to-truck numbers, rates have also weakened. Van and flatbed rates both slipped 2.4 percent, whereas reefer rates decreased by 1.3 percent.

Despite the week-to-week decline, numbers are still up when compared to a year ago. Spot market loads are up 44 percent and capacity is up 1.9 percent from August 2013. In relation to last year, rates for van, flatbed and reefers are up 8.7, 9.5 and 9.1 percent, respectively. According to DAT Solutions, the decline for the week is typical for this season.

 

Peterbilt introduces password-protected engine start

Peterbilt will be offering a new anti-theft system for Models 579 and 567 equipped with Paccar MX-13 engines. The added security will now include drivers entering a passcode to start the engine.

Passwords are keyed in through the menu control switch on the Driver Information Center – located within the driver instrumentation cluster – before starting the engine. The information center is a 5-inch, color LCD screen that provides information on vehicle and engine functions.

Upon entering the correct code, the engine must be started within six minutes. If the engine is not started within that timeframe, the code will need to be entered again. Codes can be changed, deactivated or activated at any Peterbilt dealership’s service department.

The anti-theft system is now in production and available for order.

 

Johnson’s Corner deal with TravelCenters finalized

A week ago, Chauncey Taylor, the owner of the Johnson’s Corner truck stop and restaurant in Johnstown, Colo., told Land Line the sale to TravelCenters of America could happen as soon as Sept. 24. According to an email Friday from TravelCenters of America to Land Line, TA has officially purchased Johnson’s Corner.

“We are looking forward to continuing the fine tradition of this iconic location and its success,” said Tom Liutkus, vice president of marketing and public relations for TravelCenters.

Nationally recognized as one of the top truck stops in the U.S., Johnson’s Corner is best known for their cinnamon rolls, baked from scratch every morning.

“From what we understand, it’s still going to maintain the Johnson’s Corner brand and the Johnson’s Corner image,” Taylor told Land Line. “It will have the Petro banner. It’s obviously going to carry the Johnson’s Corner name.”

Johnson’s Corner was founded in 1950 by Joe S. Johnson off of the old U.S. Highway 87, now I-25, according to their website. Open 24/7, 365 days a year, the truck stop and restaurant has been featured in Travel and Leisure, the Food Network, and in the movie “Larger than Life” featuring Bill Murray and Matthew McConaughey.

 

Another warning triangle recall; more than 47,000 affected

According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document, Buyers Products Co. is recalling more than 47,000 triangle warning signs. The recalled warning triangles have an insufficiently rigid joint between the base and the triangle and are improperly filled with ballast, causing the triangle to blow over from wind gusts.

Reports indicate that the triangle warning signs fail to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Standard No. 125, “warning devices,” and may fall over, leading to passing vehicles not being adequately warned of a stopped vehicle, increasing the risk of crash.

The Buyers Product warning triangle model numbers affected are ERT01 and ERT10.

Buyers Product Co. will notify customers, and refunds will be given for the purchased warning triangles. Drivers who own one of the recalled models may Buyers Product Co. customer service at 440-974-8888. The number for this recall is TSB-ERT10. Owners can also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236.

 

Spot volumes and rates still up from last year

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

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

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

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

 

Port of KC terminal reopening after seven years of closure

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

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

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

 

EPA gives first approval for ‘DME’ in trucks

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

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

 

Western Star introduces the new 5700XE

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

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

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

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

 

Aftermarket diesel parts maker fined $1 million by CARB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

More than 16,000 triangle warning signs recalled

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

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

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

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

 

Freight Transportation Services Index for July rises

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

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

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

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

 

Autonomous Peterbilt truck showcased at ITS World Congress

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

Technologies used by the Model 579 include:

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

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

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

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

 

New technology disables cell phones in cabs

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

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

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

 

Truck registration up from last year

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

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

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

 

IdleAir launches rewards program, expands electrification partnerships

In the past few years, IdleAir has been expanding its truck stop electrification network to more than 30 travel centers in 15 states in the United States.

IdleAir also announced a new rewards program, IdleAir Convoy Points, which recently integrated with another Knoxville, Tenn.-based company, Pilot Flying J’s Pilot MyRewards program.

According to an IdleAir press release, the new program will allow customers to “redeem their IdleAir Convoy Points one-for-one for Pilot MyRewards points, which can then be used for showers, food, beverages and other items inside Pilot Flying J locations.”

The truck stop electrification provider also has added its services at five dedicated fleet terminals.

Ethan Garber, IdleAir’s chief executive office, said usage at the terminals in 2014 has exceeded expectations with summertime usage at multiple locations.

“By realizing operational efficiencies while providing a high-level of support to our customers, we are able to deliver robust air conditioning savings at half the price of APUs (auxiliary power units), Garber said in the release.

The company recently completed construction at an additional four Pilot Flying Js in three states and has announced plans to provide its services at eight more travel centers in 2015.

IdleAir has also expanded its relationship with Hotels4Truckers, which now includes IdleAir among its list of “truck-friendly accommodations.” IdleAir also plans to provide Hotel4Truckers’ members with discounts on its premium services at its locations. 

 

New Goodyear blimp will tether to a custom Mack truck

It may look like a balloon from the ground, but the Goodyear blimp is a massive airship. To anchor the new Wingfoot One blimp, Goodyear has chosen a custom-built Mack Granite.

Measuring a length of 246 feet, 65 feet wide and 58 feet high, Wingfoot One weighs in at more than 20,000 pounds without helium or crew. Goodyear representatives were tasked to find the best way to move the aircraft in and out of hangars and keep it grounded when not in flight.

Mike Bloom of Nuss Truck & Equipment collaborated with the people at the Goodyear headquarters where they agreed that the Mack Granite was the best truck for the job. The one-of-a-kind, custom-built Granite is equipped with a Mack MP8 engine and Mack 200 series carriers with inter-axle locking differentials.

Four Goodyear G278 MSD tires are used to keep the truck rolling.

Mack’s modified Granite will be able to support the colossal zeppelin when transporting it short distances and mooring the blimp when not in the air. The truck is able to withstand wind loads as high as 90 mph.

 

Trucking company pays millions for crash

In Nevada, a jury has found a trucking company at fault in a truck-train collision that killed six people, including the truck driver.

The jury ordered John Davis Trucking of Battle Mountain, Nev., to pay more than $4.5 million to Amtrak and the Union Pacific railroad.

The 2011 fiery collision happened on U.S. Highway 95 west of Reno when the truck crashed through the crossing gate and hit an Amtrak passenger train.

Much of the testimony at the trial centered on a National Transportation Safety Board report.

It concluded that John Davis Trucking had disabled the anti-lock brakes on the trailer and that most of the truck’s brake drums were seriously worn.

 

Henry Albert receives Gary King Memorial Award

Trucker Buddy International and the Iowa 80 Group have awarded Henry Albert the 2014 Gary King Memorial Trophy. The trophy is given to a Trucker Buddy participant who exhibits dedication and passion for young students and the trucking industry.

The trophy honors the late Gary King, the founder of Trucker Buddy and OOIDA member.

As a Trucker Buddy, Albert has helped educate a second-grade class in Pennsylvania about the trucking industry and how to be better students and community members. Albert owns Albert Transportation in North Carolina and is a Team Run Smart Pro for Freightliner and member of the Trucking Solutions Group and is an OOIDA senior member.

The award was presented at the Iowa 80 Walcott Jamboree by longtime TBI member Paul Abelson, trucking journalist and senior technical editor for Land Line Magazine.

 

Minnesota trucking company denies overtime hours were worked

Attorneys for a Minnesota trucking company that was sued by a former employee seeking unpaid overtime wages denied any wrongdoing, according to documents filed in federal court.

AM-PM Trucking, of Moorhead, Minn., filed the response in North Dakota federal court. The company was sued on July 28 by Devon Seeling, a trucker from Kootenai County, Idaho.
 
Seeling’s suit seeks collective and class action status against AM-PM Trucking, alleging the company violated state law, as well as the Fair Labor Standards Act, by failing to pay overtime wages.

According to Seeling’s complaint, AM-PM Trucking hauls water to oil rigs in North Dakota. Seeling claims the company did not pay him and other drivers overtime pay for working more than 40 hours per week.

But the company’s response to the complaint states that its drivers did not exclusively haul water to oil rigs, and would in fact engage in interstate commerce. It also disputes the charges that Seeling “regularly worked” or that he ever worked 60 or more hours in one week, other than training.

The company’s response seeks for the suit to be dismissed, and for costs, disbursements and attorney’s fees.

 

Georgia-based carrier files for bankruptcy

Drug Transport Inc., better known as DTI, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to a U.S. Bankruptcy Court filing.

DTI has an estimated $1 million to $10 million in assets. Its estimated liabilities are in the $10 million to $50 million range. The largest creditor is Apex Capital, whose claim is set at more than $500,000.

According to its website, DTI is a Georgia-based transportation company with a fleet of trucks that has delivered critical shipments to hospitals, nursing homes and clinics in the South since 1959.  

 

Freight for June brings in billions more than last year

U.S.-NAFTA freight hit $103 billion in June, an increase from last year according to TransBorder Freight Data.

With a $9.5 billion increase from last year, truck freight contributed the most with $4.4 billion. All five major modes of transportation – air, vessel, pipeline, rail and trucks – had better numbers in June when compared to June 2013.

Trucks carry three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA freight and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks carried 59.5 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight in June 2014, accounting for $29.8 billion of imports and $31.4 billion of exports.

 

Spot freight market rates remain steady

Spot market rates remained stable last week as compared to the week before. Van, reefer and flatbed loads decreased 1.4 percent and available capacity slipped only 0.1 percent, according to DAT Solutions.

Average van rates remain at $2 per mile, 16 cents higher than last year. Load-to-truck ratio averages fell 2.0 percent, leaving it at 3.2 loads per truck.

Reefer rates averages have remained unchanged the past two weeks at $2.28 per mile. Load-to-truck ratio averages increased 7.3 percent to 10.3 loads per truck.

Average flatbed rates went down only a penny to $2.44 when compared to the week before. Flatbed load-to-truck ratio averages declined 3.3 percent to 35.3 loads per truck.

Rates were provided by DAT RateView, a database composed of more than $24 billion in freight bills in more than 65,000 lanes. For more information and complete reports, visit dat.com/Resources/Trendlines.aspx.

 

Gordon Trucking steps up for missing kids

A Washington state trucking company is partnering with the state patrol in a campaign to get missing kids back home. Gordon Trucking of Pacific is putting pictures of missing kids on many of its 1,700 trucks, along with a 24-hour hotline number.

The state patrol notes that many missing children don’t get an Amber alert and that putting the pictures on trucks is a way to get their images and information in front of the public.

 

Team Penske renews deal with Alliance Truck Parts

Team Penske has extended its partnership with Alliance Truck Parts, a relationship that started in 2010, according to a press release.

The deal allows Alliance Truck Parts to continue its role as a primary sponsor of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford Fusion, a car driven by 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski. Alliance Truck Parts’ bright yellow colors will be featured on the car for eight races during the 2015 season.

“This extension is a big deal to all of us at Team Penske,” Keselowski said in a news release. “Alliance Truck Parts is a great brand. I actually own a few Freightliner trucks, and we use Alliance Truck Parts to maintain them. We appreciate all they do for the Team Penske organization, and I’m looking forward to continuing our success with ATP in the future.”

Starting in 2010, Alliance Truck Parts has worked their way up from a partial season sponsor in the Nationwide Series to a full season primary sponsor in the Sprint Cup Series. Alliance Truck Parts debuted in the Sprint Cup Series this year, making the upcoming 2015 season the second straight year as a sponsor.

 

DTNA’s Truck Bucks reaches 10,000 users

Since its launch at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March 2014, Daimler Trucks North America’s new customer rewards program, Truck Bucks, has grown to a membership of more than 10,000 members. Owner-operators nationwide have been enrolling in the program at events, local dealerships and online. 

Truck Bucks provides discounts on parts and service to program members who shop within the DTNA network of Freightliner, Western Star, Detroit and Thomas Built Buses locations. Through Truck Bucks, customers receive discounts and special product incentives automatically at check-out without the need for coupons.

Customers can sign up for Truck Bucks online at mytruckbucks.com or at a DTNA retail location. 

 

 

Volvo opens new Customer Experience Track

Volvo has opened a 1.1-mile Customer Experience Track at their New River Valley assembly plant in Dublin, Va.

As a way to show off their Class 8 vehicles during tours and special events, the track includes a paved road course with banked corners and an off-highway area with a variety of surfaces and grades. The track is designed to simulate some of the more difficult work environments that truckers face every day.

Employees of Volvo skilled in design, excavation and heavy machinery were used to build the track, according to a company press release.

 

Anheuser-Busch sued for rest period rights

In California, two truck drivers who work for Anheuser-Busch InBev are suing the company for $5 million.

The class action lawsuit says the company failed to pay overtime and discourages delivery truck drivers from taking paid rest periods or meal breaks, despite a written company policy providing for them.

The St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch was bought for $52 billion in 2008 by a partnership of Belgian and Brazilian brewers.

 

Freight Transportation Services Index declines after four months of increases

The Freight Transportation Services Index dipped 0.9 percent in June to 119.1, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Statistics. This marks the first decrease after four months of increases.

The TSI measures month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles. Measurements include data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.

TSI’s updated index is 25.9 percent above the record low of 94.6 from April 2009 during the recession. The highest index number occurred during May 2014.

Spending for construction went down for June, leading to the lower index of transportation shipments. Pipelines received the biggest hit in June, compared to other modes of freight transportation.

 

Cummins celebrates 40 years in the engine business

It seemed as if the entire community of Jamestown, N.Y., was there to help Cummins Engine celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Jamestown engine plant.

The 1 million-square-foot facility was purchased by Cummins in 1974 to produce engine components, but by 1979 it was turning out complete engines. Today, it produces all Cummins heavy-duty truck engines, which include the ISM and ISX 12; the Cummins Westport ISX 12 G spark-ignited natural gas engine; and a best-selling diesel engine in North America, the ISX 15.

The occasion was marked by an open house for the community and retired employees, displays of noteworthy trucks and engines, plant tours, and greetings from representatives of state and local government.

 

Spot rates steadily declining into August

Spot truckload load volume was stable while national average van and refrigerated rates slipped during the week ending Aug. 9, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

The overall number of loads posted declined 1 percent compared to the previous week while the number of available trucks increased slightly (0.2 percent). The overall load-to-truck ratio decreased 1.2 percent to 7.7 nationwide, meaning there were 7.7 loads posted for every truck available on DAT load boards during the week.

The national average van rate dropped 6 cents (down 2.9 percent) to $2 per mile (including a 1-cent fuel surcharge decrease). Load availability rose 1.7 percent while posted capacity increased 1 percent for the week. The national van load-to-truck ratio remained at 3.1 loads per truck.

The national average reefer rate fell 9 cents (3.8 percent) to $2.26 per mile. The number of posted refrigerated loads increased 4.3 percent and capacity increased 1.1 percent compared to the previous week; the resulting refrigerated load-to-truck ratio was 9.2 loads per truck. Slowing volumes from central California are having an impact on rates, and other produce-heavy regions have yet to fill the void. However, rates for reefer loads remain 11 cents higher than August 2013.

Flatbed rates inched up 1 cent (0.4 percent) unchanged as a national average at $2.45 per mile. Load availability decreased 4.2 percent while capacity was virtually unchanged at plus 0.8 percent. The resulting load-to-truck ratio fell 4.9 percent compared to the previous week, from 36.4 to 34.6 loads per truck.

The national average fuel price was $3.84 a gallon, down 1 cent from the previous week.

Load-to-truck ratios represent the number of loads posted for every truck posted on DAT load boards. The load-to-truck ratio is a sensitive, real-time indicator of the balance between spot market demand and capacity. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates. Rates are derived from DAT RateView. 

 

Clean Energy opens 27 natural gas fueling stations

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. reports that to date,  it has completed and opened 27 natural gas fueling stations across the United States, expanding the so-called “America’s Natural Gas Highway.”

Of the 27 fueling stations, nine are truck-friendly. According to the company, 10 locations have also upgraded their equipment and have increased their compression capacity to keep pace with demand.

In related news, Clean Energy reports that G & P Trucking and Raven Transport have announced plans to deploy heavy-duty natural gas trucks. G & P is based in South Carolina and Raven Transport serves the Southeast region.

 

Delo Pick-Up Your Truck sweepstakes is underway

Is your personal vehicle of choice a pick-up truck? Chevron has announced the Delo Pick-Up Your Truck sweepstakes. Participants will have a chance to win a 2014 Ford F-250 diesel truck and other prizes.

To enter, visit their website or go to the Delo Facebook page. In order to enter through the Facebook page, participants must “like” the page first. The sweepstakes will run from Aug. 1 through Sept. 30.

Prizes include:

  • Grand prize: 2014 Ford F-250 diesel truck, valued at approximately $54,000; and
  • First prize (10 awarded): Delo gift pack valued at $150 that contains a Delo tool bag, toolkit, bobble head, towel and $50 gift card..


The sweepstakes is open to adults who are legal residents of the United States and Canada. No purchase is necessary.

 

Trailer sales up for June

The trucking economy appears to be healthy—that is if new trailer sales are any sign. ACT Research says sales were up 44 percent in June compared to June of last year. This June, 22,000 new trailers hit the highways.

 

Navistar hit with another lawsuit over MaxxForce engines

Legal actions are flying over the now defunct MaxxForce engine and its EGR emissions system.

According to a news release from San Diego-based law firm Finkelstein & Krinsk, California and Washington-based motor carrier Par 4 Transportation is suing Navistar to recover monetary losses from excessive downtime, repairs and “tarnished good will.”

“These Navistar engines have cost buyers and lessees, from large fleet owners to small businesses, millions of dollars in damages,” attorney Mark Knutson said, according to the release. “The practice of Navistar threatens the livelihood and reputation of innumerable businesses. The firm intends to hold Navistar responsible for the poor quality of its engines and reimburse all those damaged.”

Though Navistar moved away from EGR – exhaust gas recirculation – two years ago, the technology’s hangover appears to be far from over.

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

The company soon partnered with Cummins to introduce engines with selective catalytic reduction – or SCR – emissions systems and fired former CEO Daniel Ustian.

Trucks with affected engines include the following Class 7 and Class 8 models: International ProStar, Lonestar International Transstar, International Workstar, Paystar, International Loadstar.

Those who have experienced a loss from affected Navistar trucks can contact the law firm at 877-493-5366.

 

Werner Enterprises expanding

Omaha-based Werner Enterprises is planning to expand its operations in China. The Omaha World Herald reports the company is buying part of a Chinese logistics business to complement the truck fleet and warehouse network it already has in place.

 

Swift unable to find enough drivers

Stock in Swift Transportation dropped 16 percent in value on Friday, July 25, after the company announced it cannot find enough drivers and that the shortage will hurt future earnings.

That is according to the New York Post, which reports that Swift says increasing competition in the driver market has created a bigger turnover rate than expected.

 

Canada’s largest trucking company acquires another freight hauler

Canada’s biggest trucking company is about to get bigger. The Journal of Commercereports that TransForce is making a half-billion-dollar “friendly” takeover offer to Contrans, the 10th largest freight hauler in Canada.

TransForce, which recently acquired Minneapolis-based Transport America, presently has more than 14,000 employees. Contrans, which specializes in bulk, flatbed and tanker delivery, has about 1,700 workers.

 

Arkansas-based ABF may relocate to Tennessee

Less-than-truckload carrier ABF may be moving its North Little Rock, Ark., distribution center to Memphis, Tenn. That is according to the Memphis Business Journal,which reports ABF was offered $4 million worth of incentives to locate in Memphis.

ABF is not commenting on the report. It is not known if the 380 union employees at the center in Arkansas would be able to relocate to Tennessee if the move happens.

 

Freight numbers still looking good for May 2014

It’s another good month for the trucking industry in freight transportation as the U.S.-NAFTA trade for May clocked in at $103.9 billion. That’s a 5.4 percent increase from last year, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released by the DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Carrying three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA trade, trucks accounted for $31.8 billion of exports and $30.4 billion of imports in May.

U.S.-NAFTA trade has been increasing from the previous year each month for the past 11 months with the exception of January. Unusual freezing temperatures and inclement weather slowed down trade at the beginning of the year.

 

German company introduces products of the future

The German automotive components manufacturer ZF is showing off two new high-tech products.

One is a truck that a driver can park or back up to a loading dock by using a hand-held remote control device. The truck uses an electric motor during the maneuvers.

ZF is also touting a new automatic transmission that is tied to a GPS so it can read the contours of the road up ahead and shift accordingly.

 

Kinedyne announces MATS sweepstakes winners

Kinedyne has announced the five winners of the Mid-America Trucking Show contest. Winners will receive a $1,000 shopping spree of Kinedyne products.

This year’s winners are:

  • David Brown, Crivitz, Wis. – D&M Enterprises (OOIDA associate member)
  • John Griswold, Edgewater, Fla. – Griswold Trucking
  • Lisa Prince, Smithfield, Ky. – Johnny’s Garage
  • Diane Doroff, Roseville, Minn. – S&D Express (OOIDA member)
  • Shirley Batteiger, Greenville, Pa. – K&B Hauling


With 80,000 attendees at this year’s MATS, the third highest attendance in the show’s history, Kinedyne received a record number of entries.

“In addition to our popular contest, we also debuted a new product that is being developed by Kinedyne this year called the Retract-A-Bar,” said Jessica Madden, marketing coordinator at Kinedyne, in a press release. “This versatile heavy-duty load restraint bar retracts from 107 inches to 54 inches for easy shipping, storing and use within large dry freight, refrigerated trailers, small utility vehicles and standard pickup trucks.”

Kinedyne is a manufacturer and distributor of cargo securement products for the transportation industry.

 

No jury trial, Eaton and Meritor will settle

Eaton Corp. dodged a potential $2.4 billion damage claim from Meritor Inc. by agreeing to pay $500 million to head off a jury trial that was set to begin in federal court in Wilmington, Del.

Meritor Transmission and affiliate ZF Meritor LLC sued Cleveland-based Eaton in 2006 for violating antitrust laws. A jury ruled in 2009 that Eaton damaged Meritor and gained 90 percent of the market for truck transmissions by offering “exclusive dealing contracts” and unfair rebates.

 

Goodyear Smart Fleet program delivers big benefits

You’re an owner-operator or the owner of a small fleet of trucks, and margins are tight. You’re looking for new ways to cut your operating costs and boost your bottom line. Wouldn’t it be useful to have access to many of the same benefits that larger fleets enjoy?

That’s what The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. provides through its Goodyear Smart Fleet program, which gives owner-operators through mid-size fleets access to benefits that, up until now, were reserved for Goodyear national account customers. These include:

  • Premium Goodyear-branded truck tires and technologies, including Goodyear Fuel Max Technology, which incorporates fuel-saving compounds and construction to help promote energy efficiency, and Goodyear DuraSeal Technology, the industry’s only built-in, self-sealing tire technology; and more.
  • Online, published pricing on new Goodyear tires, retreads and services, which are honored by participating, authorized Goodyear commercial tire dealers.
  • The industry’s leading 24/7 emergency roadside service program, offered through the Goodyear-FleetHQ suite of business solutions. Goodyear-FleetHQ claims to have the best roll-time in the industry: just two hours and 11 minutes from the moment a truck driver contacts Goodyear-FleetHQ to the moment his or her truck returns to service.
  • Customized tire performance and service activity reporting to help you manage your tire investment more effectively.
  • Tools to help reduce your overall operating costs.


All prices are published online. Goodyear Smart Fleet members will receive the same pricing at any participating Goodyear commercial tire dealer nationwide.  

To sign up for the Goodyear Smart Fleet program, go to goodyeartrucktires.com or call number: 888-888-8687.

Published pricing on new tires, retreads and services was one of the features that attracted small fleet owner Cody Field to the Goodyear Smart Fleet program.

“I like how you can see how much everything costs,” says Field, whose fleet, Field Five Services LLC of Poteet, Texas, runs four tractors. “We know what we are going to pay for tires, retreads and services ahead of time, so I can send my drivers to purchase what we need.

Rodolfo Martin’s company, Riverside, Calif.-based MTS Inc., has seven tractors in its fleet. Martin enrolled his company in the Goodyear Smart Fleet program several months ago.

“It was easy to sign up for Goodyear Smart Fleet,” says Martin. “After I enrolled in the program, I received a welcome package from Goodyear with all of the information I needed.” This included a list of the Goodyear commercial tire dealers closest to him.

Martin recently purchased new Goodyear truck tires from a participating Goodyear commercial tire dealer in southern California. “The Goodyear Smart Fleet Web site tells you all of the prices, and my dealer honored those prices,” he says.

There is no cost to join the Goodyear Smart Fleet program, which is available to owner-operators and fleets of all vocations.

 

Pilot commits $1.25 million to big industry image initiative

Pilot Flying J and Trucking Moves America Forward recently announced a five-year partnership in which the truck stop chain committed $1.25 million to help the advocacy movement grow in the next half-decade. A press conference was held in Washington, D.C., to announce the donation.

TMAF, launched at the Mid-America Trucking Show, is an industry-wide image and internal education initiative aimed at informing policymakers, motorists and the public about the benefits of the trucking industry to help build political and grassroots support necessary to strengthen and help the industry grow, the group says.  

 

OOIDA member awarded Apex Capital contest grand prize

OOIDA Member Martin Marvel of Lakeville, Ind., won Apex Capital’s Continental Tire Giveaway Contest grand prize at the Mid-America Trucking Show earlier this year. Recently, Marvel received his brand-new set of two Continental or General steer tires and services from Apex.

The contest celebrated a new partnership with the tire provider. Marvel, owner of M&D Marvel Transportation, has been an Apex client since November 2011 and an OOIDA member since October 2005. An Apex Capital representative visited Marvel in Indiana to award his prize, including installation of the tires on Marvel’s Western Star.

Apex and Continental/General Tire will offer Apex clients discounts on tier 1 and tier 2 tires.

Apex Capital is a factoring company located in Fort Worth, Texas

 

Detroit Radiator set to exhibit show truck at GATS

Detroit Radiator Corp. will be showing off their tour truck “Dr. Cool” at this year’s Great American Trucking Show.

The 18-wheeler big rig includes a Detroit Radiator exhibit inside the trailer. The exhibit will showcase aftermarket cooling product solutions, awards, sponsorship memorabilia and company history. Additionally, there will be giveaways and contests with prizes to the HD transportation, commercial, industrial and agricultural industries.

The Great American Trucking Show is scheduled for Aug. 21-23 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. Nearly 500 exhibitors will represent major truck and trailer brands, component suppliers and others aligned with the heavy- and medium-duty truck markets.

 

Big Rig Builder launches new 3-D interactive website for truckers

Big Rig Builder has created the first virtual entertainment website built for truck drivers. The 3-D interactive website allows truckers to build their dream semi, and a virtual truck show allows truckers to compete for products for their own rigs.

The Truck Show Competition will be open for seven months. Throughout the competition, the website will add trucks, parts, paint graphics and prizes. Prizes will be announced on Dec. 25 for both a company driver and an owner operator. Some of the prizes include a chrome package from 4 State Trucks; GPS and CB radio from Cobra; Bluetooth headsets from Blue Tiger; and a SleepDog Gel mattress from SleepDogMattress.

“BigRigBuilder.com will continue to expand and develop the 3-dimensional interactive entertainment platform,” according to “creative mastermind” Tom McNeely in a press release. “When giving back to the American trucker, we stand by our slogan ‘Go Big or Don’t Go!’”

After two years in development, BigRigBuilder was created as a “thank you to those that are the backbone of America.” The Truck Show Competition is open to all truck drivers in the continental United States with a valid CDL. Membership is free.

 

Volvo’s ‘I am a Volvo Trucker’ video receives top awards

Volvo’s “I am a Volvo Trucker” video received two silver and three bronze awards at the 35th annual Telly Awards.

The video is a first-person narrative that paints a picture of a modern professional truck driver and makes a notable departure from stereotypes so often used in marketing to truckers. The video can be seen here.

“We’re proud of the success and reach of this video to audiences that may not consider the essential role of trucking or professional drivers to our economy,” said Magnus Koeck, Volvo Trucks vice president, marketing and brand management.  

With silver awards being the competition’s highest honor, the Telly Awards recognizes the best in film and video production, online videos and television segments. More than 12,000 videos were submitted for consideration.

Myjive Inc., a digital media company based in Charlotte, N.C., produced the video. “I am a Volvo Trucker” was released in conjunction with Volvo Trucks’ 2014 North American merchandise collection.

 

GM recalls 8.5 million vehicles

In the last six months, General Motors has recalled more cars than it sold in the last ten years.

That’s according to the Detroit Free Press, which reports that the recall on July 1 of nearly 8.5 million vehicles is mainly for ignition problems.

GM has acknowledged that 13 deaths may be linked to faulty ignition switches that could disable power steering, brakes and airbags. Critics contend the number of deaths is much greater.

 

Mack Pinnacle steals the show at music awards

A MackPinnacleRawhideEdition carrying members of the Canadian rap rock band “Down With Webster” stole the show during its grand red carpet entrance at the recent Much Music Video Awards in Toronto.

Four members of the band, which was nominated for pop video of the year, arrived on the red carpet in a 70-inch mid-rise sleeper cab version of the Rawhide Edition.

“A rock rap band like Down With Webster deserves an extraordinary and unique arrival at an event like the Much Music Video Awards,” said John Walsh, Mack vice president of marketing. “If they wanted unique, they got unique.”

Click here to view a video of Down With Webster arriving on the red carpet of the 2014 Much Music Awards in a Mack Pinnacle Rawhide Edition.

 

Volvo investing in new manufacturing plant

Volvo says it plans to sink nearly 70-million-dollars into its New River Valley manufacturing plant in Dublin, Virginia.

In a press release, the company says it will install new state-of-the-art equipment to improve the assembly process for the 5 truck models the plant produces.

 

Trucking industry receives job boost for June

The transportation industry added 16,600 jobs in June, including 3,300 trucking jobs, according to the Department of Labor.

Currently, there are 1,405,000 trucking jobs in America, an increase of 26,000 jobs from last June. In the past year, the trucking industry is averaging an increase of more than 2,100 jobs each month.

Couriers and messengers received the largest gain with 5,500 more jobs for the month of June. Out of the 10 transportation categories, scenic and sightseeing transportation was the only class to report a loss with 800 fewer jobs.

The overall unemployment rate is 6.1 percent, a 0.2 percent decrease from last month. Last year, unemployment in June was at 7.5 percent, 1.4 percent higher than this year. Shortly after the announcement on July 3, the Dow Jones Industrial Average went over 17,000 for the first time ever.

Wages are also increasing. The average hourly earnings for the month of June went up 6 cents to $24.45. Average hourly wages for June of 2013 were at $23.98.

 

Truck sales spike for month of June

Sales of new trucks jumped more than 41-percent in June compared to the same month last year.

ACT Research says there were more than 26,000 trucks ordered last month. A company spokesman says the market is unusually strong right now given that truck sales normally weaken at this time of year.

 

Volkswagen denies Paccar buyout

Volkswagen, which sells heavy trucks in Europe, continues to deny the persistent rumor that it plans to try to buy Paccar next year.

Paccar, headquartered in Bellevue, Wash., makes Kenworths and Peterbilts.

Reuters reports that a senior executive at Daimler says multiple reliable sources tell him that VW will make a bid for Paccar.

A VW spokesman says the rumors are “complete rubbish.”

Volkswagen has bought MAN and Scania, two of the biggest truck makers in Europe. Taking over Paccar would give it access to the North American market.

 

DOT: March was second best month for freight movement

The US transportation department says March was the second best month ever in terms of freight movement between the US, Canada and Mexico.

More than $101 billion worth of goods were moved across the borders, and trucks hauled more than 60 percent of that freight.

 

TransForce to buy Transport America

Canadian truckload carrier TransForce is buying Eagan, Minnesota-based Transport America for $310 million.

TransForce CEO Alain Bedard says the deal will give his company ‘critical mass’ in terms of expanding in the US market.

TransForce has 4,600 company trucks and 6,700 owner-operators. Transport America has about 1,500 trucks.

 

Company claims to put flying car on the market

A company called Terrfugia says it will have a flying car on the market within two years—if it can just line up $30 million more in financing.

The car with collapsible wings will sell for over a quarter-of-a-million dollars and requires that the owner have what the Federal Aviation Administration calls a ‘sport pilot certificate.’

 

Proposed K & M Junction truck stop faces some opposition in Indiana

While some residents are opposing a plan to build a new truck stop in Whitley County, Ind., a partner in the planned deal to build K & M Junction says it makes good economic sense.

Kay Beard, who has been in the truck stop business since 1990, told Land Line on Thursday, June 5, that she is one of three partners who are proposing to build the new 26-acre site.

She said the planned site will bring in 85 to 100 full-time jobs, with some part-time jobs. Beard said the new truck stop in Whitley County would bring in much needed tax revenue for both the county and state, if approved.

She said the planned site will have a total of 320 parking spaces, including 160 designated parking spots for tractor-trailers, as well as at least 160 designated spots for expediters, bobtails and RVs.

Many state-owned rest areas in Indiana still remain closed because of budget reasons.

“We want this to be a safe haven for truckers,” Beard told Land Line. “While the attitude at some truck stops is to get fuel and get out, this is not what we are about. We want to have a place that encourages truck drivers to hang out and get to know us.”

 

1,500 trucking jobs added in May

The government has released the latest jobs numbers—showing that 217,000 jobs were added in May, 1,500 of them in trucking.

The number of new jobs was less than economists were expecting. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate remained at 6.3 percent.

 

Kenny Adams Trucking closes doors, instructs drivers to return trucks

Approximately 65 drivers for Kenny Adams Trucking have been instructed to deliver their loads and return their trucks to the company’s headquarters in Wynne, Ark.

Claudia Wiles, office manager at Kenny Adams Trucking, confirmed for Land Line on Friday, June 6, that the company is closing its doors. She declined further comment as to why the company was shutting down.

Wiles told Land Line the shutdown process should take approximately two weeks to get all of the trucks returned to the company.

One driver, who had a lease-purchase agreement with Kenny Adams Trucking, said he has already returned the truck, but claims he is out approximately $10,000 in lease payments he made on a Freightliner truck, as well as his escrow money.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s SAFER website, the company had received a conditional safety rating the past two years.

 

Winebrenner agrees to settle gender-pay discrimination case

A Hagerstown, Md.-based motor carrier, Winebrenner Transfer Inc., has been ordered to pay a former female driver $42,000. She filed a lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming her employment was terminated after she complained that she was being paid less than male drivers who worked for the company.

Tina Thompson started working for Winebrenner in April 2011. After discussing pay rates with male drivers, she claims she was being paid less than what the company was paying its male drivers.

According to court documents filed by the EEOC in September 2013, Thompson complained several times to the company’s owner, Randy Winebrenner, about unequal pay about a year after she had been with the company.

According to court documents, Winebrenner responded that he would pay Thompson what he wanted.

On June 11, 2012, Thompson sent another text message to the company owner, again about not being paid the same rate as the male drivers. She claims Winebrenner terminated her employment via text message the following day, according to court documents.

Thompson further claims she was retaliated against because Winebrenner gave negative references to her prospective employers. Court documents claim that Thompson had never been written up or disciplined for her conduct on or off the road during her time as a driver for Winebrenner.

As part of the EEOC settlement, Winebrenner has been ordered to pay Thompson $21,000, her full back pay, as well as liquidated damages of $21,000.

 

Tyson Foods adding more tractor-trailers

Tyson Foods—which already has one of the biggest truck fleets among private carriers—may be adding some tractor-trailers soon.

The Wall Street Journalreports Tyson is buying The Hillshire Brands for nearly $8 billion.

Hillshire makes Jimmy Dean sausage and Ball Park hot dogs.

Pilgrim’s Pride was also trying to buy Hillshire, but Tyson outbid them by almost a billion dollars.

Tyson’s present truck fleet includes about 26-hundred tractors and 6-thousand trailers according to Transport Topics.

 

Skeleton crew at New Century works to help drivers, calm customers’ fears

A day after management at New Century Transportation Inc. of Westampton, N.J., dropped a bombshell on nearly 1,500 employees, including 1,000 drivers, that the company was suddenly closing its doors, a skeleton crew is still working behind the scenes on Wednesday, June 11, to calm customers’ and drivers’ nerves. Many drivers are on their way to return their equipment.

A customer service representative for New Century said the company is working with other companies, including Estes Freight, to get their freight delivered. She said several trucking companies were on-site at the company’s headquarters on Wednesday, interviewing truck drivers for potential jobs as they returned to the lot with their trucks. Estes has stated they have some driver openings available, but is not buying New Century.

The day the termination notice was sent to all New Century personnel, one truck driver filed a class action complaint claiming the company violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification – or WARN Act – as well as the New Jersey Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act.

 

Freight shipments reach record high

April was another good month for the trucking industry in terms of the amount of freight that was hauled.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports freight shipments reached their second-highest monthly level since record-keeping began 14 years ago.

April shipments were up about half a percent from March, and were up more than 24-percent from April of 2009 during the depths of the recession.

 

CARB issues $2 million in Truck and Bus fines in 2013

As a verbal no-holds-barred battle royale occurred during April’s monthly California Air Resources Board meeting, several of the more than 100 public speakers slammed the state environmental body.

Though CARB was moving to help small trucking fleets obtain more time to comply with the state’s $1 billion Truck and Bus Rule, several speakers said uncompliant companies aren’t being hounded by air quality enforcement officers.

“No one is fighting for the little guys who have complied,” said Shelly Archer, owner of Archer Trucking. “I beg you to tie compliance to DMV registration.”

As it turns out, CARB has already been enforcing the Truck and Bus Rule – to the tune of $2 million in fines last year.

CARB recently announced settlements with 256 truck owners over air quality violations by truck and bus fleets for fines of nearly $2.2 million. Violations included failure to comply with the following: California’s Truck and Bus Regulation, verification/certification procedures for diesel particulate filters, properly self-inspecting diesel fleets to meet state smoke emission standards, and dispatching compliant trucks on California highways.

Companies paying the highest fine amounts include:

•Thermo King Corp. with $213,200;
•California Gas Transport at $136,125;
•GC Harvesting at $120,000;
•KS Industries Inc. at $230,250;
•Roly’s Trucking at $58,000;
•White Arrow at $50,700; and
•THX Transport at $50,000.

Other companies fined large amounts include:
•Altos Brothers Trucking;
•Amador Transit;
•A.M. Ortega Construction, Inc.;
•Apple Valley Unified School District;
•Artic Glacier Ice, Inc.;
•Bear Valley Electric Service;
•Berryessa Garbage Service;
•California American Water;
•Capital Drum, Inc.;
•Cardenas Markets, Inc.;
•CR&R Waste & Recycling;
•Daly Movers, Inc.;
•Dash Transport, Inc.;
•Dolphin Express/Dolphin Transport;
•ESTES West;
•File Keepers, LLC;
•F.N.F Rolloff Services;
•Hansen & Adkins Auto Transport;
•Jerry Melton & Sons Construction Inc.;
•JLV Transport LLC;
•Lakeport Disposal Co. Inc.;
•Mike Tamana Freight Lines LLC;
•Mountainside Disposal Inc.;
•MVP Trucking Inc.;
•Old Durham Wood Co.;
•Oltmans Construction;
•Pacific Green Trucking;
•Pemer Packing Co.;
•R&F Disposal;
•Redwood Debris Box;
•Reeve Trucking;
•Rodolfe Nunez DBA Nunez Transport;
•Selma Disposal & Recycling Inc.;
•Smartway Express;
•Sterling Express Services;
•Transloading Express Inc.;
•Victor Nunez DBA Nunez Transport;
•Vigold Transport Systems Inc.;
•Water Reclamation Equipment Inc.; and
•Williams Tank Lines.

The remaining 209 cases, CARB said, were settled below $10,000 and total $449,838 in penalties.

“ARB’s diesel risk reduction program is designed to limit the amount of harmful pollution from diesel engines,” CARB Enforcement Chief James Ryden said, according to the release. “Companies who fail to comply with the regulations are contributing to that pollution, and that is when ARB must take action.”

$1.7 million of the fines will go to the California Air Pollution Control Fund and the Peralta Colleges Foundation. $417,167 is designated to the college district to fund diesel emission education classes and diesel technology certificate and degree programs. And $57,562 will go to fund school bus diesel particulate filter installations.

 

Kenworth introduces natural gas version of T680

Kenworth has introduced the natural gas-powered version of its T680 model trucks. The announcement was made this week in conjunction with the Alternative Clean Transportation Expo in Long Beach, Calif.

The natural gas truck will be available with the Eaton UltraShift Plus automated transmission option. Kenworth will be exhibiting a T680 with the Eaton UltraShift Plus option during ACT. The truck will also include a 52-inch mid-roof sleeper and the Cummins Westport ISX12 G 400-hp natural gas engine. These options will be available for line haul and regional haul applications.

“The Kenworth T680 natural gas configuration equipped with the Eaton UltraShift Plus transmission offers truck operators the best line of sight toward increased fuel efficiency and performance in a Class 8 natural gas truck,” said Alan Fennimore, Kenworth vocational marketing manager, in a news release.

“Start with the fuel-efficient T680, add the Cummins Westport ISX12 G engine for natural gas fuel savings opportunities compared to diesel, and then mix in the productive Eaton UltraShift Plus to help maximize fuel economy and driver comfort,” Fennimore said.

 

Penske offers natural gas Cascadias for rent

Penske Truck Rental is introducing natural gas trucks for rent in select markets. Penske has 85 compressed natural gas Freightliner Cascadia tractors ready to roll out in Southern California, Northern California, Phoenix, Denver, Salt Lake City, Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta and Baltimore. The tractors will feature the Cummins Westport 12-liter engines.

“An increasing number of customers have expressed a desire to incorporate natural gas vehicles into their fleets to further reduce emissions,” stated Don Mikes, Senior Vice President – Rental, Penske Truck Leasing, in an announcement May 7.

“These rental semi-tractors allow our customers to field test the units and experience how they will use them within their daily business. If a customer wants a more-permanent solution, we can easily transition them into a full-service lease,” he said.

 

More CATs than you can shake a stick at

In 1988, there were only 28 CAT Scales around the nation. But recently, CAT Scale Co. celebrated the opening of a new one at the Love’s in Springville, Utah, which brings the number up to 1,500.

 And for new drivers, you may have heard that the people from CAT will either pay a trucker’s fine or go to court for them if they get an overweight citation after weighing on a CAT scale?

 Yep, it’s true.

 

Navistar steps up reliance on Cummins engines

Commercial truck maker Navistar International Corp. will close an engine plant in Alabama this summer as it moves to eliminate excess production capacity and consolidate its engine lineup for medium-size trucks.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the closure of the plant in Huntsville will result in the loss of about 280 jobs and generate savings of about $22 million a year. Production at that plant will be shifted to an engine plant near Chicago, which will add about 75 workers.

Navistar will continue to produce large diesel engines for heavy-duty trucks at a second plant in Huntsville. WSJ reports that the move reflects an increasing reliance on engines made by Cummins Inc. Navistar recently began offering Cummins’s engines in its medium-size trucks and had earlier decided to buy 15-liter engines from Cummins for heavy-duty trucks.

 

 

Ryder and WIT: more user-friendly trucks for women

Ryder System says it’s partnering with the Women in Trucking association to offer trucks that are more user-friendly to women. According to a recent statement from Ryder, many women would benefit from design changes that feature things like better-positioned cab steps and grab handles, adjustable foot pedal heights and an electric or hydraulic devise to lift the hood. 

Ryder says it will start offering such features on its trucks and will encourage truck manufacturers to do the same.

 

Volvo takes the entire stable to MATS

Volvo Trucks will showcase its full range of North American Class 8 models at the 2014 Mid-America Trucking Show, March 27 to 29, in Louisville, Ky. Volvo’s indoor booth No. 32125 in the North Hall of the Kentucky Exposition Center includes 12 vehicles spanning regional haul, long haul, heavy haul and vocational segments of the Class 8 market. 

 

Merger creates truck dealership with 19 facilities

CSM Companies Inc. and French-Ellison Truck Center LLC announced this week that the two companies will merge on March 31, 2014.  The result will establish the company as one of the largest commercial truck dealership groups in the United States with 19 facilities.  

CSM Companies was founded in 1978 and currently operates 12 Kenworth dealerships and three independent service centers in Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska and Illinois.  The company’s locations do business as Wisconsin Kenworth, Michigan Kenworth, Sahling Kenworth, and Dedicated Fleet Services.  The company was named Kenworth Dealer of the Year in 2013.

French-Ellison Truck Center was founded in 1968.  It operates four Kenworth and three Mack dealerships in south Texas. The company was named Kenworth Dealer of the Year in 2008.

The newly formed company will be headquartered out of Madison, Wis.

 

TMC honors seven with Silver Spark Plug Award

The Technology & Maintenance Council awarded its highest honor, the Silver Spark Plug Award, to seven trucking industry professionals during the Council’s 2014 Annual Meeting, March 10-13, in Nashville, Tenn.

The 2014 TMC Silver Spark Plug recipients are: Jim Clark, recently retired as director of engineering for TMD Friction, Troy, Mich.; Lilo Hurtado, applications engineer for ExxonMobil, Bolingbrook, Ill.; Bob Jeffries, sales manager for Remy Inc., Arlington, Texas; Mark Louzon, engine product development manager for Volvo Powertrain North America, Hagerstown, Md.; Vic Meloche, manager of technical sales for Detroit Diesel, Detroit; Don Raitzer, engineer for Stemco Brake Products Group, Livonia, Mich.; and Dan Umphress, vice president of maintenance and fleet services for A&R Transport, Morris, Ill.

 

Road Choice-branded parts make debut

Road Choice Truck Parts is the newest brand to enter the heavy-duty truck industry’s private label all-makes market. Road Choice Truck Parts is a trademark of Mack Trucks Inc., an affiliate of the Volvo Group. 

Second- and third-generation truck owner/operators will find this news of interest. Road Choice products are designed to offer owners of out-of-warranty trucks quality and reliability with parts covered under a minimum, one-year warranty.

Offering a growing line of high-demand parts, including air conditioning, air springs, air/electrical coils and accessories, brake chambers, exhaust products, lighting, shock absorbers and universal joints, Road Choice all-makes parts are value-priced to compete with heavy-duty manufacturers’ and warehouse distributors’ private brand parts.

Drivers and fleet managers can find the growing selection of all-makes parts and a listing of authorized Road Choice Truck Parts retailers at the Road Choice website.
 
Attendees of Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., March 27 -29, can learn more about Road Choice all-makes parts at booth No. 36065.

 

Pilot Flying J announces Road Warrior campaign

Pilot Flying J has kicked off Road Warrior, a new initiative celebrating and honoring professional drivers throughout North America. The grand prize for the ultimate Road Warrior is $10,000.
 
Anyone can nominate a Road Warrior, and drivers can nominate themselves. You can also nominate coworkers, friends and family members. Road Warriors will be featured on the new Road Warrior website and PFJ’s social media networks. Daily and weekly Road Warriors will receive a variety of prizes including a Road Warrior T-shirt, MyRewards points and an assortment of other items.  
 
Voting is currently open, and you can nominate Road Warriors through Oct. 31, 2014. Once nominations close, finalists will be selected and open voting will begin for the final Road Warrior. The ultimate Road Warrior will be announced in December.

 

Meritor renames braking systems

Meritor is renaming and enhancing two braking products to help customers identify these products and improve their total cost of ownership. As part of a new naming structure, Meritor drum brakes that had been branded QPlus are now Q+; and air disc brakes are renamed from EX225 to EX+.

Meritor also announced enhancements and improvements.

Enhancements to Q+ drum brakes include:

  • Increased availability at multiple OEM customers;
  • Upgraded performance and lining life for reduced stopping distance; and
  • Increased product familiarity among technicians to improve service ease.


EX+ air disc brake improvements include:

  • Unsurpassed braking performance that results in shorter stopping distances, straight line stopping and fade resistance
  • Enhanced twin piston design 
  • Improved redundant sealing at each potential ingress path
  • Enhanced robust adjuster proven in the most severe vocations
  • Total cost of ownership and return on investment benefits for severe duty applications

 

Dometic will launch BliZZard battery-operated a/c for trucks at MATS

Dometic Group, a global provider of comfort products for the trucking industry, announced this week that it will launch the Dometic Split-System BliZZard 134a, a battery-operated air conditioning unit for trucks at this year’s Mid-America Trucking Show, to be held March 27-29 at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville, Ky.
 
The BliZZard air conditioning system, which will be on display at Booth No. 14252, is a highly efficient auxiliary a/c unit that allows truckers to cool their sleeper cabs without running the truck engine. Quiet and efficient, the BliZZard is simple to install and provides more than 10 hours of cooling.
 
Available in 7,000 and 10,000 BTU models, the battery-powered split system allows the noise of the condenser unit to remain outside while the quieter evaporator unit blows cool air to the cab’s interior. Made in the USA, the BliZZard is SmartWay and EPA certified. It uses environmentally safe and commonly available R134a refrigerant.
  
The Split-System BliZZard is also available with optional electric heat to provide heated comfort without running the engine. For both cooling and heating, the system complies with all federal, state and local anti-idling regulations.
 
Service for the BliZZard is available nationwide.

 

Canada OKs boat tails

In Canada, the national transportation department, Transport Canada, has given the green light to truckers using full-length boat tails – or trailer tails – to cut down on wind resistance. It will be up to the individual provinces to set their own standards.

Until now, nothing on the rear of a Canadian trailer could protrude more than 2 feet. In the U.S., boat tails protrude about 6 feet.

 

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.

 

Canada Cartage is sued for shorting overtime pay

By Reed Black, Land Line Now staff reporter

A nearly 100-year-old trucking company headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, is the target of a $100 million class action lawsuit. Canada Cartage is accused of shorting many of its 3,500 employees on overtime pay.

Toronto attorney Ian Matthews of Lax O’Sullivan Scott Lisus LLP is representing the plaintiffs. He says the lawsuit covers 3,000 to 4,000 workers, including truck drivers, who’ve been employed by Canada Cartage at any time since March 1, 2006. The class action lawsuit includes current and former employees. The case was filed Nov. 8 in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

“The way it got started, we were introduced to a former employee named Marco Baroch who said he never got overtime unless he worked over 60 hours a week,” said Matthews.

Matthews said in checking out that claim, a systemic problem was discovered in the trucking industry for not paying overtime. Baroch worked as a shunter at a Canada Cartage location in Mississauga for about seven years. He is the representative plaintiff in this class action.

According to court documents, in one case, when a worker complained, the company allegedly started paying him overtime – but reduced his regular pay by the same amount.

Matthews said the law firm had established a website to provide more information on the class action lawsuit. It can be found at Canadacartageclassaction.com.

A call to Canada Cartage in Mississauga was not returned.

Copyright © OOIDA

 

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.

 

New Peterbilt dealership offers 70 service bays and natural gas truck repair

Salt Lake City is home to the newest Peterbilt dealership in the company’s 270-plus dealer network with the relocation of Jackson Group Peterbilt’s flagship store to a 128,000 square-foot facility. Along with the retail display space, the new, full-service dealership includes 70 service bays – six of which are certified for the maintenance and repair of natural gas vehicles.

Jackson Group Peterbilt operates nine Peterbilt dealerships in Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Utah. A 10th is expected to open soon in Salina, Utah.

The new dealership’s parts, service and body shop are open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The truck sales department is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.

 

Bennett Motor Express acquires Ace Doran

Bennett Motor Express announced this week it has completed the asset purchase of Cincinnati-based Ace Doran Hauling & Rigging Co., a family owned and operated transportation company that has served the shipping public since 1913. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The acquisition is the largest in the history of Bennett Motor Express, which started with five trucks and two customers in 1974. Bennett Motor Express is the largest of the seven operating companies within Bennett International Group of McDonough, Ga.

“Our decision to buy Ace Doran is consistent with our strategy of prudent growth,” said David Lowry, vice president of Bennett International Group and CEO of Bennett Motor Express.

Lowry, who is also a senior member of OOIDA, said that Ace Doran’s fleet of flatbeds, step decks and RGNs will complement Bennett’s fleet. The addition of Ace Doran’s 200 independent owner-operators increases Bennett’s fleet by 25 percent to more than 800 trucks.

Ace Doran LLC’s day-to-day operations will continue from its Cincinnati headquarters, with former owner Dan Doran joining Bennett and retaining the title of president. The intention of Bennett’s leadership is to keep intact the structure and processes that have made this 100-year-old company a success.

“We are excited to have joined a larger, financially strong company and be continuing our century of service,” said Doran. “I am proud of my family’s heritage and the efforts of all of our employees, past and present, who have made Ace Doran what it is today.”

 

Iowa-based flatbed carrier transitions to employee-owned company

Instead of selling the mega-trucking company Harrold Annett has spent the past 41 years building, he has decided to go a different route. He announced on Thursday, Oct. 10, that the flatbed carrier TMC Transportation, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, will be transitioning to an employee-owned company.

According to a TMC release announcing its plan to transition to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), the decision was made based on Annett’s “desire to establish a succession plan that maintains the culture of TMC, while rewarding its employees for their dedication.”

TMC has 2,440 power units and 2,474 drivers and has been a private, family-owned company since 1972, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s SAFER website.

“I have been approached many times with the opportunity to sell TMC,” Annett said in the release. “What I realized in contemplating selling the company is that it would result in a change to the culture that we have all worked hard over these years to create. The only way to make sure our culture endures is to put TMC into the hands of the people who take the most pride in our culture. And that is the employees.”

Annett will remain as majority shareholder of TMC. Company shares “will be distributed to all employees at no cost,” the release states.

 

Navistar recalls 16,000 trucks due to fifth wheel problem

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer

More than 16,000 Navistar International Prostar, LoneStar and TransStar trucks are being voluntarily recalled to correct a potential problem that could cause a trailer to unexpectedly release from the fifth wheel.

The recall, which has been posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, affects those models manufactured from February 2008 to July 2013 and equipped with an electronic fifth wheel jaw release system.

The recall report states that due to an assembly error, the air lines at the isolation/vent valve may not be oriented correctly, which could cause the fifth wheel jaw to release in the event of air leakage at the valve.

Navistar estimated that 25 percent of the identified trucks could have the defect.

“Navistar is making every effort to ensure the safety of our vehicles and is cooperating fully with NHTSA throughout the recall process,” spokeswoman Elissa Maurer said in an email to Land Line on Tuesday. “It is important to note that this air line routing condition does not affect normal operation. The company is notifying customers and International dealers will inspect vehicles and conduct any needed repairs.”

The company is notifying owners, and dealers will inspect the air line routing. If necessary, repairs will be made free of charge. Navistar’s recall number is 13514.

Owners may contact Navistar at 800-448-7825. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236. For more information, click here.

Copyright © OOIDA

 

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.

 

Goodyear rebrands Wingfoot locations

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s Wingfoot commercial tire network is getting a new identity. Starting this month, Goodyear will begin the process of rebranding its Wingfoot locations as Goodyear Commercial Tire & Service Centers.

There are 180 tire sales, service, retread facilities and truck care centers that operate under the Wingfoot banner. Wingfoot Commercial Tire and retread locations compose 135 of that total. Wingfoot Truck Care Centers make up the rest.

When the rebranding process is complete, all Wingfoot locations will operate as Goodyear Commercial Tire & Service Centers. Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems LLC will still be a wholly owned subsidiary of Goodyear, but it will do business as Goodyear Commercial Tire & Service Centers.

The rebranding process will include location signage, service truck identification, employee uniforms and other items relevant to Wingfoot’s business. Wingfoot’s product lineup, service menu and organizational structure will remain unchanged.

 

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.

 

Ambest donates $30,000 to Wounded Warrior in honor of Veteran's Day

Ambest, the member-owned national network of truck stops, travel centers and truck service centers based in Brentwood, Tenn., has raised $30,000 for Wounded Warrior project in honor of Veterans Day.

The organization used its 25th annual meeting, which was held recently in Nashville, as a means of raising funds through sponsorships and a silent auction with participating generous benefactors such as Bridgestone, Lucas Oil, Michelin, DAS, Valvoline and many others.

 

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.

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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.

 

Firestone sweepstakes plans big tour, big finish

By Paul Abelson, Land Line senior technical editor

To launch “The Year of Firestone,” Bridgestone Commercial Solutions began the Firestone Drives America Tour on July 16 at the Akron Aeros minor league baseball game. The tour will visit selected minor league baseball and college football games across the nation.

At every stop and at Firestone dealers and truck stops, CDL holders that own or operate a Class 7 or 8 vehicle can enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win travel to a 2013 Major League Baseball Fall Classic Championship Series game or a college football bowl game or other prizes. Five finalists will get a chance to win a Peterbilt tractor.

The sweepstakes conclude at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March 2014. Five finalists will be sent to the show. In addition, each finalist will win an all-expense-paid trip to the 2014 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and will draw for a unique Firestone Edition Peterbilt with up to a five-year supply of Firestone truck tires.

The customized Firestone Edition Peterbilt 587 is spec’d for optimum fuel economy. It features a 450 hp Cummins ISX engine with 1550/1750 lbs-ft of torque, an Eaton 10-speed transmission, and 3.25:1 drive axles.

Additional prizes include $500 gift cards, leather jackets and polo shirts.

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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.

 

New Optimus Prime is a Western Star

The studio execs are not officially releasing a pic yet, but on the producer’s website you can get the scoop and an image. In the new “Transformers 4” movie, the new superhero truck from outer space is no longer a Peterbilt.

From Michael Bay, the executive producer of the Transformer movies, comes the word that the completely upgraded, custom-built Optimus Prime is a Western Star.

 

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.

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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.

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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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