While Hurricane Katrina has caused suffering and loss for millions of people, many truckers have been hit especially hard - no truck, no livelihood.
To help ease the financial burden, a number of companies are offering leniency by extending deadlines and eliminating fees for drivers who lost their truck or were affected by the storm's aftermath.
Navistar Financial Corporation, a wholly owned finance subsidiary of International Truck and Engine Corp., announced Monday, Sept. 12, a plan to offer a two-month deferral of loan or lease payment to its customers residing in the FEMA federal disaster areas.
Under the plan, the deferred payments will be moved to the end of the contract, and all normal processing fees and deferral interest will be waived.
On the same day, DaimlerChrysler Services Truck Finance - which provides wholesale financing and credit lines to Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star purchasers - implemented the following actions for customers in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi:
- Customers in affected areas are eligible for special assistance, including "special circumstance" extensions and deferrals.
- Customers can contact a DaimlerChrysler Services Truck Finance customer service representative at 1-800-222-4221.
- Dealers of Freightliner, Sterling and Western Star trucks in portions of Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi who have their inventories financed by DaimlerChrysler Services Truck Finance can call a Dealer Services representative at 1-800-659-4444.
Volvo Trucks, along with Mack Trucks, Inc., has created a program called Hurricane Help, which allows customers who reside in counties designated as Hurricane Katrina disaster areas by FEMA to take advantage of a payment assistance program to skip payments until Jan. 1, 2006.
Customers in these counties who meet the program parameters have been automatically entered into this payment assistance program. The skipped payments will be added to the end of the contract without additional interest or penalty.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Truck Stop Operators is urging all fuel card companies to reduce or suspend their fuel card transaction fees in the wake of Katrina and the record-high fuel prices that followed.
Last week, NATSO president and CEO Lisa Mullings sent a letter to Commercial Fueling Network, Comdata, EFS Transportation Services, Fleet One, LLC, T-Chek Systems, and TCH, LLC.
"Truck stops and travel plazas are working to supply product and to control prices so that they can keep America's truckers on the road and protect our economy, Mullings said. "As an important partner to the nation's truck stops, we urge the fuel card companies to help them keep America moving by reducing card fees for the entire industry."
Credit card companies have also joined the victim leniency movement. MBNA Corp. announced it would give a two-month payment holiday, along with no cash advance or late fees, to customers affected by the tragedy, theMiami Herald reported.