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May 24, 2015

THE DRIVER SHORTAGE * USA & Canada: I's not only just about being away from home

* Ontario - Truck driving would be a great job: "If you could get paid for what you did"

-- Dave MacMillan is an owner-operator based in Parry Sound, Ontario, who has spent most of his 40-year driving career hauling produce from California. Currently, he drives a lumber truck locally and is paid by the hour. When the lumber hauling season is over he will study the rates and decide if he wants to put his truck back on the road or leave the business altogether...  He explains why the industry has trouble attracting and keeping drivers... "The driver shortage is bad, and it will continue to get worse," says MacMillan. "You can't attract young people to this industry anymore. When I was a kid all I ever wanted to do was drive a truck. Now, you look at this industry and you think, 'Geeze, I may stay away from home almost all year long, in and out, and only make $30,000. Or, I can go into construction, be home every night, and make $50,000.' It's not much of a choice" ... How do you attract and keep professional drivers? "I think the only way is to pay drivers by the hour, because there's so much time lost in transportation that paying by the mile just doesn't cut it. You spend so much time in traffic or sitting at shippers and receivers who abuse your time as a driver. Big carriers continue to pay by the mile, and they get what they pay for. At the end of the day, many of the really good drivers leave the industry because they're not making enough money. This trickles down and you end up with guys that really shouldn't even be on the road... You'll even get big carriers undercutting each other, then try to make up for hauling the cheap freight by trimming the drivers' paychecks…the burden for profit is shifted to the driver" ... MacMillan concludes: "I don't want to sound too harsh here, but it's kind of embarrassing to a lot of us [long-time professional drivers] to see the guys that drive trucks now. We hate to be painted with the same brush, but we are, and you can understand why the public does that. An awful lot of the guys who did this as a profession have left. It's a shame, because it's a good job, really. If you could get paid for what you did, it would be a great job" ...
Parry Sound, ONT, CAN - Fleet Owner, by Larry Kahaner - May 22, 2015


TRUCKING SEARCH FOR YOUNG DRIVERS * USA: Comes up very short about

* New York - Trucking Industry:  40,000 drivers shortfall & aging workforce, bigger questions for the future 

-- The trucking industry says the average age of drivers is nearing 50, and trucking companies and their customers face a looming demographic problem because fewer younger workers are interested in filling empty seats... Kevin Young, a 37-year-old truck driver from Kentucky, is the third generation in his family to take to the open road and loves his job so much that he’s lost two marriages over it. Mr. Young, got his Commercial Driver’s License as soon as he was eligible at age 21...  The trucking industry is beginning to feel the impact of a shortfall of some 35,000 to 40,000 drivers needed to move goods, some believe this will grow to as much as 240,000 drivers by 2022, said Gail Rutkowski, executive director of the National Shippers Transportation Council, or NASSTRAC... Experts say there are many reasons behind the shortage, including more stringent work requirements as safety regulations have expanded and low pay that, despite recent gains, has made the tough working conditions tougher to bear. But trucking is also driving headlong into demographic reality: its workforce is getting older, and younger Americans are showing less interest in a career on the highway... This shortage is buffeting the trucking industry as the volume of goods grows with the economy... It is also increasing costs for shippers as carriers step up efforts to recruit and retain drivers... Carrier shipping rates have gone up 8% in a year “at a time when diesel fuel, which is typically one of the largest drivers of trucking cost, dropped nearly 25%” ...   Trucking cos. has had trouble keeping truck drivers for more than 10 months in its small private fleet that employs nine drivers because larger companies are in something of a poaching war, paying thousands of dollars in sign-on bonuses to attract new drivers... The ATA estimates more than a third of companies owning private fleets and less-than-truckload carriers, which carry goods for multiple shippers on one truck, are now offering signing bonuses. Nearly half of truckload carriers, which serve one shipper at a time and operate on longer routes, are doing the same... The shortage has had some benefit for drivers. The ATA said average driver pay across the industry was more than $54,585 in 2014, up 9% from about $50,000 in 2013... But the ability to attract a younger generation will depend on the industry’s ability to make trucking appealing again...  Although he is 37, Mr. Young, the truck driver from Kentucky, considers himself an old-timer on the road and thinks the next generation of young drivers don’t have a love of the job, he said. “If the young people would take more pride in it, it would be a lot better out here” ... 
(PHOTO - Kevin Young says truck driving is a lifestyle and a career that has cost him two marriages. His wife, Shannon Young, is applying for her Commercial Driver’s License to join him n the road) -- NY, USA - The WSJ. by LORETTA CHAO - May 19, 2015

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DRIVERS SHORTAGE * USA: Carriers are “bending over backwards” to retain drivers

* New York - Driver shortage remains sore spot across trucking spectrum

-- The chronic shortage of drivers is now affecting all segments of the trucking industry, from drayage to regional and long-haul operations, and shows no signs of abating near term – spawning a range of efforts to attract and keep workers willing to pilot commercial vehicles for a living... “However, the driver shortage is hitting the intermodal segment as well,” she said. “Trucks are a key component of every mode, from ocean shipping and rail to air cargo, because trucks handle the first and last mile” ... Still, intermodal traffic continues to grow in part because drivers are in shortest supply in the OTR segment, Joni Casey, president and CEO of the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) stressed... One [Midwest TL] carrier executive told us "He was getting 10% rate hikes last year, whereas this year the increases are likely to be half that” ... John Larkin, managing director & head of transportation capital markets research for Stifel Nicolaus & Co., pointed out that carriers are “bending over backwards” to give drivers a large portion of those rate increases, though the Midwest-based TL carriers Stifel recently interviewed believe higher driver pay alone will not solve the ongoing shortage... Thus a broader array of driver-focused retention efforts are being more widely deployed by motor carriers, he noted... “Still, the driver recruiting and retention issue remains the number one challenge facing the industry today,” Larkin emphasized... 
(Photo: Chassis stacked waiting to shippers in the port of Long Beach)  --  NY, USA - Fleet Owner, by Sean Kilcarr - May 19, 2015

* Nevada - OMVS’s online platform to open up trucking’s labor force

--The U.S. trucking industry is facing a driver shortage and On the Move Systems, Inc. (OMVS) has developed a pioneering new "Uber for trucking" platform that could help carriers find the people they need behind the wheel... “Our innovative shared economy platform can provide a quick, effective way for truckers, recruiters and driver candidates who want to work to connect online,” said OMVS CEO Robert Wilson. “Trucking companies are facing higher costs because of increased driver turnover. Giving the companies, recruiters and drivers an app to connect them in one place will greatly increase each company's exposure in the employment marketplace and help them find candidates who will stay long-term, cutting costly turnover” ... In addition, OMVS’s platform will enable larger trucking companies to locate and contact local, independent haulers who they can contract with, making their shorter runs more efficient and cost-effective...
 Henderson, NEV, USA - BUSINESS WIRE - May 20, 2015


FEMALE TRUCKERS * USA: In sexual harassment case

* Iowa - Trucking firm said to shrug at sex assaults

-- Female long-haul truck drivers must carry weapons to fend off sexual assaults by co-drivers because CRST Expedited trucking ignores their complaints, women claim in a federal class action... Lead plaintiffs Cathy Sellars, Claudia Lopez and Leslie Fortune sued CRST Expedited in Federal Court on Monday, in a lengthy complaint alleging discrimination and retaliation...  Sexual assaults of female CRST drivers are so pervasive that others in the trucking industry joke that the acronym, which stands for Cedar Rapids Steel Transport, also stands for "Constantly Raping Student Truckers," according to the lawsuit...  The women's attorney Joshua Friedman told Courthouse News that CRST has been ignoring complaints of sexual harassment for more than a decade... Plaintiff Leslie Fortune claims several of her trainers propositioned her for sex. When she refused the advances of one of them, she says, he kicked her off his truck and spread rumors that she was a "lot lizard," trucker slang for prostitute, and later yelled at her when he found out she filed a complaint against him... After she reported one trainer named threatening to rape her, she learned he had been promoted to classroom trainer, and another trainer did not stop badgering her for sex until she told him she kept knives under her pillow, Fortune says... 
(Photo: 100 CRST Women May Have Their Day In Court)  --  Iowa City, IO, USA - Court House News Service, by REBEKAH KEARN - 20 May 2015

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SAVING COST OF TRUCKING * USA: eHorizon System reduces overall fuel consumption by around 3%

* Michigan - In trucking, a little automation saves a lot of money

-- According to trucking analyst Andy Ahern, 60% of wasted truck fuel is caused by driver overacceleration—for instance, hitting the gas on the way down a hill, only to have to brake to slow down at the bottom... Continental AG’s eHorizon system, housed in a small unit that connects to trucks’ existing controls, works to prevent that waste. It uses a topographical database to plan acceleration and braking to take advantage of momentum on hills. The system can plan acceleration decisions before a human driver can even see the hill around the next bend... Robert Gee, Continental’s head of product management, says that eHorizon reduces overall fuel consumption by around 3%. That might not add up to much for a small car, but it can save around $2,000 worth of fuel for a single freight truck per year... The American Trucking Association counts 2.4 million semi trucks on the road in the U.S., so nationwide use of such systems could save as much as 1.6 billion gallons of fuel and $4.8 billion annually. The U.S. Energy Information Administration states that burning a gallon of diesel fuel generates 22.38 pounds of atmospheric carbon, so using such systems has the potential to cut truck emissions by more than 35 billion pounds per year...
(Photo: The eHorizon data delivers up-to-date information on the road ahead) -- Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA - Fortune, by David Z. Morris - MAY 19, 2015

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DRIVER SAFETY * USA: Lytx's in truck video camera

* California - HMD Trucking employs Lytx Inc.’s DC Protect Program for fleet

-- San Diego-based Lytx Inc., a global leader in video-based driver safety, today announced that HMD Trucking Inc. has deployed the Lytx DriveCam Program in all of its company-owned vehicles. Presently, HMD Trucking utilizes more than 200 tractors and 400 trailers... HMD Trucking of Chicago, ILL,  was midway through a trial of the DriveCam program when it experienced significant cost-savings and improvements in safety, prompting the company to deploy the program in nearly all its vehicles... To date, the program has enabled HMD Trucking to achieve marked driver-behavior improvement in both safe driving and seatbelt usage. The Lytx DC Protect program has also enabled the company to prove its drivers’ innocence in a variety of incidents, including several near-miss collisions and instances of flat tires caused by rough road patches... 
San Diego, CAL, USA - Trucking News - May 19, 2015


NEXT GENERATION OF TRUCKERS * USA: Port of Long Beach looks to draw they

* California - A college’s educational program for prospective truck drivers

-- Mayor Robert Garcia speaks at a ceremony the Port of Long Beach held to recognize their high school and college summer interns as well as scholarship winners in Long Beach, CA, on Wednesday, May 20, 2015... The Port awarded $60,000 in scholarships to 27 recipients as well as introducing a new website for students to use to find scholarships and internships with the Port at The event was held at the Museum of Latin American Art... Also on Wednesday, the Harbor Trucking Association, an industry group, highlighted a $220,000 grant Long Beach City College announced in March to expand the college’s educational program for prospective truck drivers... The grant is funded by Walmart Foundation and managed by Jobs for the Future and is intended to help the school train 300 drivers and attract female students to the trucking industry, according to the college... 
(Photo: Aerial view Port of Long Beach)  --  Long Beach, CAL, USA - Press-Telegram, by Andrew Edwards - 21 May 2015


May 23, 2015

TRUCKS' PORT CONGESTION * USA: Association has a new project to ease

* California - Harbor Trucking Association has a new venture to reduce congestion around the ports

-- The Harbor Trucking Association, an industry group, announced Wednesday it is supporting a new venture to reduce congestion around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach... In launching its Trucker Chassis Connection, the association joins other business and government organizations in the harbor area that are seeking to improve the way port truckers get road equipment needed to move freight out of port terminals... Difficulties related to the availability of chassis have been blamed as a major factor in congestion problems around the ports... The new program was announced as a partnership between HTA and Chassis Finder, a Wichita, Kansas company operating an online system for trucking companies seeking to lease available trailers. The trade group’s member companies will be able to use the new chassis pool on June 1... Initial plans call for 200 chassis to be set aside for trucking companies doing business at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach with another 50 chassis set aside for the Port of Oakland... At least for now, the new chassis pool represents a small number of trailers when compared to the roughly 80,000 chassis a trio of major equipment leasing firms have gathered into what has been called a “pool of pools” or “gray pool” ... Three companies, Direct Chassis Link, Inc., Flexi-Van Leasing Inc. and TRAC Intermodal formed the new pool in March in an attempt to improve the flow of goods around the harbor by allowing truckers to use chassis interchangeably instead of having to worry about whether the equipment is contractually tied to a particular shipping line... 
(Photo: Port of Long Beach)  --   Long Beach, CAL, USA - Press-Telegram, by Andrew Edwards - 20 May 2015


TRUCKING INDUSTRY NEWS * Europe: UK's Palletways

* UK - Palletways to expand trucking service to Eastern Europe

-- A significant increase in pan-European shipment volumes is fueling expansion for Palletways, a U.K.-based network of truck operators specializing in palletized freight... Palletized shipments between markets in Europe increased 35 percent last year, and Palletways said it expects volume to grow 50 percent over the next 12 months... Palletways is a network of more than 300 trucking companies, founded in the U.K. in 1994, that as a network handle what in the U.S. would be called less-than-truckload freight. The group now has 12 terminals in 13 countries, and delivers freight from Portugal to Slovakia and Denmark. Palletways now plans to move further into Eastern Europe... In a May 19 statement, the group said it is looking at extending services into Switzerland and six Eastern European countries, as well as completing a bigger hub in Germany... Starting in June, Palletways will expand into Poland and Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, according to SHD Logistics, a U.K.-based supply chain publication... Palletways is one of several groups formed by hundreds of trucking companies handling palletized freight for shippers throughout Europe. Among its competitors are Palletforce, Eurodis, and Norbert Dentressangle’s Red Europe service...
Fradley Park, Lichfield, Staffordshire, UK - JOC by William B. Cassidy - May 20, 2015


May 22, 2015

SELF DRIVING TRUCKS * USA: To hit us like a human-driven truck

* New York - The imminent need for basic income in recognition of our machine-driven future

-- The potential effects that self-driving vehicle technology would have not only on truckers themselves, but on all the local economies dependent on trucker salaries. Once one starts wondering about this kind of one-two punch to America's gut, one sees the prospects aren't pretty... We are facing the decimation of entire small town economies, a disruption the likes of which we haven't seen since the construction of the interstate highway system itself bypassed entire towns. If you think this may be a bit of hyperbole... Let me back up a bit and start with this:
(Source: NPR - This is a map of the most common job in each US state in 2014)

... It should be clear at a glance just how dependent the American economy is on truck drivers. According to the American Trucker Association, there are 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the US, and an additional 5.2 million people employed within the truck-driving industry who don't drive the trucks. That's 8.7 million trucking-related jobs... We can't stop there though, because the incomes received by these 8.2 million people create the jobs of others. Those 3.5 million truck drivers driving all over the country stop regularly to eat, drink, rest, and sleep. Entire businesses have been built around serving their wants and needs... One further important detail to consider is that truck drivers are well-paid. They provide a middle class income of about $40,000 per year. That's a higher income than just about half (46 percent) of all tax filers, including those of married households... Truck driving is just about the last job in the country to provide a solid middle class salary without requiring a post-secondary degree... If we now step back and look at the big national picture, we are potentially looking at well over 10 million American workers and their families whose incomes depend entirely or at least partially on the incomes of truck drivers, all of whom markedly comprise what is left of the American middle class... The trucking industry expects to see 21 percent more truck driving jobs by 2020. They also expect to see an increasing shortfall in drivers, with over 100,000 jobs open and unable to find drivers to fill them. Higher demand than supply of truckers also points to higher pay, so for at least the next five years, the future is looking great for truck drivers. The only thing that could put a damper on this would be if the demand for truck drivers were to say... drive off a sharp cliff... 

* That cliff is the self-driving truck... 

-- The technology already exists to enable trucks to drive themselves. Google shocked the world when it announced its self-driving car it had already driven over 100,000 miles without accident. These cars have since driven over 1.7 million miles and have only been involved in 11 accidents, all caused by humans and not the computers. And this is mostly within metropolitan areas... These trucks will be in a decade-long testing phase, racking up over a million miles before being deemed fit for adoption... The hardware itself is already yesterday's news. They're just the first ones to throw them into a truck and allow truckers to sit back and enjoy the ride, while the truck itself does all the driving... If the truck needs help, it'll alert the driver. If the driver doesn't respond, it'll slowly pull over and wait for further instructions. This is one big improvement in particular is fewer accidents... But robot trucks will kill far fewer people, if any, because machines don't get tired. Machines don't get distracted. Machines don't look at phones instead of the road. Machines don't drink alcohol or do any kind of drugs or involve any number of things that somehow contribute to the total number of accidents every year involving trucks. For this same reasoning, pilots too are bound to be removed from airplanes... Robot trucks also don't need salaries that stand to go up because fewer and fewer people want to be truckers. A company can buy a fleet of self-driving trucks and never pay another human salary for driving. The only costs will be upkeep of the machinery. No more need for health insurance either. Self-driving trucks will also never need to stop to rest, for any reason. Routes will take less time to complete... All of this means the replacement of truckers is inevitable. It is not a matter of "if", it's only a matter of "when" ...  

* The long-term job outlook of the American Trucker 

-- Humans are dangerous behind the wheel of anything... So the question then becomes, how long until millions of truckers are freshly unemployed and what happens to them and all the rest of us as a result? ...

When will self-driving cars conquer our roads? ...
Source: Morgan Stanley 

 -- According to Morgan Stanley, complete autonomous capability will be here by 2022, followed by massive market penetration by 2026 and the cars we know and love today then entirely extinct in another 20 years thereafter... We're looking at a window of massive disruption starting somewhere between 2020 and 2030... There is no turning the wheel in prevention of driving off this cliff either. Capitalism itself has the wheel now, and what the market wants, the market gets. Competition will make sure of it... Any realistic time horizon for self-driving trucks needs to look that trucks only need to be self-driven on highways. They do not need warehouse-to-store autonomy to be disruptive. City-to-city is sufficient. At the same time, trucks are almost entirely corporate driven... There are market forces above and beyond private cars operating for trucks. If there are savings to be found in eliminating truckers from drivers seats, which there are, these savings will be sought. It's actually really easy to find these savings right now... Wirelessly linked truck platoons are as simple as having a human driver drive a truck, with multiple trucks without drivers following closely behind. This not only saves on gas money (7 percent for only two trucks together), but can immediately eliminate half of all truckers if for example 2-truck convoys became the norm. There's no real technical obstacles to this option. It's a very simple use of present technology... The answer to the big question of "When?" for self-driving trucks is that they can essentially hit our economy at any time...

* The eve of massive social and economic disruption
Source: Mother Jones 
-- This is what happens when good-paying jobs are eliminated, and that money not spent on wages and salaries instead stays in the hands of owners of capital, or is given in smaller amounts to lower-paid employees in lower-wage jobs. Inequality grows more and more extreme and our land of opportunity vanishes. Economic growth slows to a crawl... This is where we're at and this is what we face as we look towards a quickly approaching horizon of over 3 million unemployed truckers and millions more unemployed service industry workers in small towns all over the country dependent on truckers as consumers of their services... The removal of truckers from freeways will have an effect on today's towns similar to the effects the freeways themselves had on towns decades ago that had sprung up around bypassed stretches of early highways... With self-driving cars and trucks, here again we face the prospect of town after town being zipped past by people (if even present) choosing to instead just sleep in their computer-driven vehicles... This time, there's no need for entire towns to even exist at all...

* The road left to take 

--  As close as 2025 -- that is in a mere 10 years -- our advancing state of technology will begin disrupting our economy in ways we can't even yet imagine. Human labor is increasingly unnecessary and even economically unviable compared to machine labor. And yet we still insist on money to pay for what our machines are making for us. As long as this remains true, we must begin providing ourselves the money required to purchase what the machines are producing. Without a technological dividend, the engine that is our economy will seize, or we will fight against technological progress itself in the same way some once destroyed their machine replacements. Without non-work income, we will actually fight to keep from being replaced by the technology we built to replace us. Just as our roads a decade from now will be full of machine drivers instead of human drivers, a 21st century economy shall be driven by human consumers, not human workers, and these consumers must be freely given their purchasing power. If we refuse, if we don't provide ourselves a universal and unconditional basic income soon, the future is going to hit us like a truck -- a truck driven solely by ourselves...

No one should be asking what we're going to do if computers take our jobs. We should all be asking what we get to do once freed from them...

NY, USA - Huffington Post, by Scott Santens - 19 May 2015

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Google & Facebook AUTONOMOUS TRUCKS in THE FUTURE ? * USA: Prognosis

* New York - Move aside Google Truck, the self-driving tuck is in your rear-view mirror

( Watch Daimler's Self Driving Truck Freightliner Inspiration in Nevada become the world´s first licensed autonomous heavy-duty truck allowed to use public roads. Forget the future this just happened today! Mercedes Self Driving Trucks are go with the Daimler's Freightliner Inspiration Truck! - Video by CARJAM TV - May 6, 2015 )

-- Google and the automotive industry, in general, seem to underestimate the potential of autonomous trucks, especially given a troubling and worsening driver shortage crisis, noticeable impact these trucks can have on reducing total cost of ownership, and comparative ease with which the technology can be implemented in heavy commercial vehicles and, perhaps in the future, making mega trucks (approximately 60 tons total tractor-trailer gross weight) a reality... In the U.S., heavy trucks represent roughly 5% of the total vehicle population, but consume 20% of total transportation fuel... These vehicles are business machines and owners of these vehicles naturally demand the highest fuel economy and safety standards, and are also willing to pay a premium in the form of higher upfront prices if lifecycle costs can be reduced. Therefore, it is only logical to expect that any innovation that enhances fuel efficiency and safety in the automotive industry will experience the greatest market pull in the commercial vehicle industry... Societal acceptance will be driven largely by the regulatory environment, and regulators are still undecided on whether to support such vehicles. The absence of regional standards is the primary hurdle that OEMs and autonomous technology suppliers must overcome... Many fear the possibility of cyberattacks as well as software and mechanical failures, both of which are legitimate concerns. The public has historically shown less sympathy toward mechanical failures than driver failures... More importantly, since we are focused on trucking, remember that trucking is a business, and like any business, the objective is to reduce operating costs. Many fleet managers are asking, “If an automated truck costs more than a conventional truck by 20-30% or more, and yet requires a driver in the cabin who is paid full salary, then why should I invest in this technology?” ... The benefits of autonomous driving in an industry that always craves TCO (total cost of ownership) reduction technologies are driving truck makers to develop autonomous driving trucks to differentiate their products from competitors... Daimler showcased the industry’s first autonomous long-haul truck in Hanover in 2014... Volvo has engaged in a different strategy toward autonomous driving with a near-term focus on a concept known as truck platooning or road trains. Volvo has invested in Peloton Technologies, a North American market leader in the development of truck platooning... There is also strong participation from other truck makers in North America, Europe and Japan, such as Scania, PACCAR, and Hino... The research study also states that advent of autonomous driving technologies and vehicles will usher new value chain partners into the trucking landscape—IT companies such as Google and Facebook, cybersecurity companies, and algorithm-based developers. OEMs’ lack of IT knowledge will open unprecedented partnerships and business opportunities in the trucking industry. About 15-20% of emerging revenue opportunities derived from autonomous trucks will be earned by these companies...And ... Self-driving trucks are no longer the future. They are the present. They're here !!! ...
 NY, USA - Forbes, by Sandeep Kar - 19 May 2015

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AIR BAGS TROUBLES * USA: RECALLS EXPANDED to 34 Million Cars and Trucks in

* DC - Takata Air-Bag recalls, registered among the largest for a consumer product in U.S. history

(Video from YouTube, by bbc@abc news - May 19, 2015)

-- In the largest automotive recall in U.S. history, car makers will fix faulty air bags in nearly 34 million vehicles after Japanese parts supplier Takata Corp. bowed to pressure from regulators on Tuesday... The move doubles the number of vehicles already targeted by the recall, which is aimed at repairing malfunctioning air-bag inflaters that can explode and send shrapnel flying into cars. The recalls, expected to be conducted by up to 11 auto makers, would be one of the largest actions for any industry. Some 31 million bottles of Tylenol were recalled in the early 1980s... The suspect air bags are found in everything from sport-utility vehicles made by Honda Motor Co. to autos produced by Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Co. and Daimler AG trucks. Vehicles equipped with the faulty Takata air bags represent almost 14% of the roughly 250 million vehicles on U.S. roads... On Tuesday, auto-safety regulators said Takata admitted for the first time there are defects in the company’s air-bag inflaters. Takata filed four reports with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, saying that inflater propellants can alter over time and lead to “over-aggressive combustion” ...  The upshot is that air bags can explode with too much force... Six deaths and more than 100 injuries have been linked to the problem...
 Washington, DC, USA   The WSJ, by MIKE SPECTOR and GAUTHAM NAGESH - May 19, 2015

* DC - Takata criminal probe shifted to Detroit prosecutors

 -- Federal prosecutors in Detroit are taking the lead in the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into air bag defects linked to six deaths and more than 100 injuries as major automakers continue to race to identify the millions of additional vehicles must be fixed in the largest recall in U.S. history... The intense public interest in the issue led record traffic and sporadic outages at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s: website, as more than 50 times the normal number of owners sought to check to see if their vehicles have been recalled... Experts say automakers will face difficulty to convince nearly 34 million owners to take vehicles in for repairs. Auto website Autotrader says most owners don’t take recalls very seriously... Autotrader research shows that if owners are aware of a recall on their vehicle, only 56 percent take it in for repairs every time... Only 61 percent of owners work to stay informed about recalls on vehicles they own, and only 35 percent research recalls when shopping for a vehicle to purchase... 
Washington, DC, USA - The Detroit News, by David Shepardson and Melissa Burden - May 20, 2015

* DC - NHTSA moves to speed 34M Takata recall repairs

 -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will take the unprecedented step of launching an effort to assert broad oversight over 11 major automakers to speed the massive recall of 33.8 million vehicles equipped with defective, possibly deadly, Takata air bags... NHTSA said Thursday it intends to use its authority under a 2000 federal law called the TREAD Act for the first time to oversee what will be the largest auto recall in U.S. history. The federal agency could order additional production of replacement parts by other suppliers, decide how the parts are used and where, and exercise broad authority over the callback... It will use this pathway in part because the 11 automakers whose cars have the affected Takata air bags have separate recall programs that create what NHTSA calls “a patchwork solution.” The agency believes separate recalls may not adequately address the safety risks of the exploding air bags within a reasonable time...
Washington, DC, USA - Detroit News Washington Bureau, by David Shepardson - May 21, 2015

* DC - GM 'learned a hard lesson' after ignition switch recall

 -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will extend a consent order requiring General Motors Co. to disclose detailed safety issues and meet with government officials monthly for at least another year... Last year, GM agreed to the sweeping decree and paid a record-setting $35 million civil penalty for delaying a recall of 2.6 million older cars for ignition switch defects that are now linked to 104 deaths and nearly 200 injuries... In the aftermath of the recall crisis and congressional hearings, GM hired dozens of new safety engineers, as Barra (GM's CEO),   reorganized GM's safety organization. After a scathing internal report, Barra fired 15 and disciplined five employees... Last year, GM recalled a record-setting 30 million vehicles worldwide in 84 recall campaigns. The number of vehicles called back this year by GM has fallen sharply as the automaker has worked to identify problems earlier... NHTSA praised GM's actions. "Automakers can learn an important lesson from GM," said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. "Follow the rules, be accountable for your products, take good care of your customers and always make safety the priority" ... 
Washington, DC, USA - The Detroit News, by David Shepardson - May 21, 2015

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May 21, 2015

SUIT AGAINST TWO CHINESE TRUCKMAKERS Cos. * USA: For stealing truck designs

* Virginia - Liebherr drops lawsuit accusing Newport News workers, Chinese of stealing truck designs

-- Liebherr drops — for now — lawsuit accusing workers, Chinese of stealing truck designs... Liebherr USA has dropped — at least for now — most of a major lawsuit accusing former workers at its Newport News manufacturing plant of conspiring with Chinese companies and others to rip off Liebherr truck designs...  Liebherr mining trucks stand 29 feet tall and have a carrying capacity of 400 tons. That dwarfs a normal dump truck, which stands about 10 feet tall and has a 40-ton payload, or only a tenth the capacity of the Liebherr trucks... In the 2010 lawsuit, Liebherr Mining & Construction Equipment accused six former workers at the Newport News factory of conspiring to steal thousands of sensitive documents from the plant... Liebherr's suit also accused a Detroit engineering firm, Detroit Heavy Truck Engineering, of serving as a conduit to Chinese companies, and two Chinese manufacturing partnerships, accusing them of imitating a Liebherr diesel truck with a 400-ton payload... If the theft isn't reversed, Liebherr contends, "American manufacturing jobs will be lost" to companies that have ripped off technology and processes that took decades and millions of dollars to develop... All six workers — as well as the Detroit firm and the Chinese companies — have denied the allegations against them. The original defendant worker died about a year ago... 
(Photos courtesy of Liebherr - Liebherr Mining & Construction Equipment alleges that several former employees of its Newport News production plant stole thousands of design documents used to make huge mining trucks -- then turned the documents over for copycat truck production in China. Liebherr's model is seen at right, the Chinese-built version at left)  --  Newport News, VA, USA - Daily Press, by Peter Dujardin - 28 March 2015

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May 20, 2015

TRUCKMAKERS NEWS * USA: New Caterpillar vocational truck - * Toyota's export pickup trucks

* Illinois - Caterpillar’s newest vocational truck termed a ‘Hard Worker’

-- The Cat Vocational Truck line has just introduced the CT680 — a Class 8 set-forward-axle model built to tackle today’s most demanding jobs while setting new standards for comfort and style... The third vocational truck offered by Caterpillar, the CT680 features a rugged exterior, attractive automotive appearance, spacious and ergonomic cab, and vocational-specific engine and transmission. Its set-forward axle, parabolic taper leaf suspension, tuned cab air suspension system, and premium sound insulation and trim combine to deliver industry-leading ride quality... The CT680L features a three-piece Metton hood, three-piece chrome bumper and three-piece chrome stainless grille surround, as well as composite halogen headlights and incandescent park/turn lights. The CT680LG comes with a one-piece fiberglass hood, three-piece black bumper and integrated fiberglass grille surround, along with sealed-beam halogen headlights and LED park/turn lights... Powering the CT680 is a Cat CT Series vocational truck engine with horsepower ratings from 410 to 475, peak torque ratings from 1,450 to 1,700 pounds feet and the flexibility to match power and performance to specific jobs and operating conditions. A highly efficient Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) solution, with upgraded in-cylinder technology and proven aftertreatment, meets emission requirements... The CT680 comes standard with Caterpillar’s comprehensive asset and fleet management tool, Product Link. Customers can use this tool and the accompanying VisionLink web interface to track fuel use and costs, location, working versus idle time, preventive maintenance schedules and more. Fault code or suspicious movement alerts can be sent via email or text message to help keep downtime to a minimum... Also available are an optional Vehicle Infotainment System and a Bendix Tire Pressure Monitoring System...
(Photo: The Cat Vocational Truck line. Introducing the CT680)  --  Peoria, Illinois, United States - Trucking News - May 20, 2015

* Texas - Toyota, auto parts makers boost San Antonio’s export totals

  -- Toyota this year, has exported 7,585 trucks from San Antonio, according to a new Brookings Institution report. Motor vehicles were San Antonio’s top export in 2014... The city’s Toyota assembly plant exports Tundra and Tacoma pickup trucks to 15 international markets. San Antonio-made pickup trucks are sold in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Bolivia, Chile, the NATO operations area of Germany, Bahrain, New Caledonia, Saipan, Japan, Guam, American Samoa, Canada, according to a Toyota spokeswoman... Toyota began exporting San Antonio-made pickup trucks in 2011, said Amanda Rice, a Toyota business communications specialist in California. Last year, 20,914 pickups were exported, Rice said. Toyota in general exports about 10 percent of its production from all its U.S. plants yearly... Motor vehicles accounted for nearly $1.22 billion in area exports last year... 
(Photo: San Antonio-built Toyota Tundra pickup trucks are being driven onto a rail car at the Toyota plant in this 2013 photo) -- San Antonio, TXS, USA - The San Antonio Express News, by David Hendricks - May 20, 2015


PARKING SHORTAGE * USA: Trucker Path app helps drivers

* Find parking spots nationwide

-- Trucker Path has launched a new feature that enables truck drivers to see parking availability in locations across the country... The standard Trucker Path application is free and available on Android or iOS-based smartphones and tablets... It provides drivers a trip planner to plan a route and check detailed information about truck-friendly points-of-interest along the way. This includes hotels or motels, weigh stations, truck stops, truck washes, restaurants and rest areas... Drivers can read what their peers say about the locations and how they rate them... All of the information on Trucker Path is constantly verified and updated by Trucker Path’s community of truckers to ensure its accuracy... 
San José, CAL, USA - 
Trucking News - May 19, 2015


DRIVERS SHORTAGE * USA: Automated trucks? ... Years away !!!

* New York - There's a slow-rolling crisis in trucking labor—and it's costing everyone

-- High turnover rates, increased operating costs, and recruitment obstacles have all contributed to the current shortage of between 35,000 and 40,000 truck drivers nationwide... The most obvious option for attracting more drivers is money. “Pay’s going up substantially, because it has to,” says Andy Ahern, CEO of trucking consultancy Ahern and Associates. Ahern cites companies including Celadon, CRST, Boyd Brothers, CR England, and U.S. Express as recently increasing driver pay. From an average paycheck of $40,360 as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012, he ventures that freight drivers are now averaging a bit over $50,000 a year... In trucking, short labor drives wages higher very directly, as drivers can easily jump ship from one carrier to another. And turnover rates for long-haul truckers are truly staggering—96% in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the ATA. The rate for local truckers is a much lower 10%, but that still dwarfs the national turnover rate across all industries, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics put at 3.5% in March... The one clear solution to the labor shortage is years away, though advancing steadily: automated trucks. They’re already operating on closed sites like Rio Tinto’s Pilbara mine in Australia, and Daimler AG has just received approval to test automated highway driving in Nevada. But however badly the trucking industry may need it right now, automation is at least a decade away. The trucking industry will need to find another solution in the interim... 
N.Y., USA - Fortune, by David Z. Morri - MAY 18, 2015

* DC - US labor data demonstrate increase in truck drivers, driver pay

-- Trucking companies redoubled efforts to hire truck drivers last year, and their hard work delivered results, with the number of new drivers added rising nearly 40 percent... They’ll have to try harder if they want to close the gap between the number of drivers behind the wheel and the number needed by shippers as the U.S. economy grows... The total number of tractor-trailer or heavy truck drivers employed in the U.S. rose 2.5 percent in 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ occupational employment statistics show. That compares with a 1.9 percent gain in 2013, when the U.S. economy expanded more slowly... That increase pushed the number of heavy truck drivers above 1.6 million for the first time since 2008. The total number, 1,625,290, is only 4 percent short of the 2007 peak... Efforts to boost driver pay pushed the overall average annual wage for heavy truck drivers up 2.4 percent to $41,930 a year, about a $1,000 difference, according to the BLS... That’s a bigger raise than than the average U.S. worker received in 2014. The average U.S. wage rose by about $730 or 1.7 percent to $47,230 a year, according to the BLS... That means the gap between the average truck driver wage and the average U.S. wage closed slightly, dropping from 11.8 percent in 2013 to 11.2 percent last year... 
 Washington, DC, USA - J.O.C., by William B. Cassidy - May 18, 2015

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TRUCKS' QUEUE * Philippines - This really it's one: 63 km !!

* Sorsogon - Truckers endure 63-km traffic on road leading to Matnog Port in

(Video from GMA News and Public Affairs - May 18, 2015)

 -- For more than a week now, truck drivers and helpers have been stuck along a road leading to Matnog Port in Sorsogon, waiting for their turn to board roll-on roll-off vessels to their destinations. The queue had grown to a long 63 kilometers as of Tuesday, according to a report on GMA News'... The queue started when the Philippine Coast Guard suspended sea trips at Matnog Port due to the threat of recent cyclones, including Typhoon Dodong... For more than eight days, the truckers complained there was no order in their queue, with some trying to jump the line to board RORO vessels earlier... Yet another problem is the hot weather. Many of the truckers are coping by sleeping, bathing, cooking, and even washing clothes... For its part, the Coast Guard admitted a delay since the priority is for buses, light vehicles and trucks with perishable items to board ROROs...Worse, officials could not immediately say when the truck drivers' and helpers' ordeal will end... 
Matnog Port, Sorsogon, Phippines - GMA News, by Unang Balita - May 19, 2015

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May 19, 2015

ENGINE MAKERS * Canada - JV amidst Westport & NGV Motori

* British Columbia - New Partnerships emerge in NGV manufacturing sector

-- A global manufacturer/supplier of natural gas vehicle (NGV) engines and conversion kits for aftermarket diesel engines, NGV Motori, has formed partnerships with British Columbia-based Westport and Quebec-based Lion Bus... Italian-founded NGV Motori's exclusive deal with Westport will allow the Alexandria, VA-based company to supply OEM-quality conversion kits and NGV engines with Westport's electronic management systems incorporated, a spokesperson said... With Lion Bus, NGV Motori has an alliance to put the company's International DT 466 compressed natural gas (CNG) engines in the bus maker's Type-C school and other buses. The result will be an OEM Type-C bus with the NGV Motori engine...  
Vancouver, B.C., Canada - DAILY GPI / NGV, BY Richard Nemec - May 18, 2015


TRUCKMAKERS NEWS * USA: Isuzu's truck Nr. 500,000

* Michigan - Isuzu delivers its 500,000th commercial truck in North America

-- Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc., distributor of low-cab-forward trucks, said it has delivered the 500,000 Isuzu-built truck since the Isuzu brand entered the North American market in 1984... The N-Series truck was sold to Farmers Home Furniture in Dublin, Ga...  Isuzu diesel-powered trucks range from the 12,000-pound GVWR NPR ECO-MAX to the 19,500-pound GVWR NRR. Both standard and crew cab models are offered and all are available in a range of wheelbases to meet the needs of a variety of applications... Isuzu is also the only brand to offer a gasoline-powered low-cab-forward truck in North America... Also, Isuzu is the only manufacturer to offer, CNG/LPG-capable low-cab-forward trucks in North America... 
Charlotte, MICH, USA - Trucking News - May 18, 2015


TRUCKMAKERS NEWS * China: Trucks exported to Vietnam

* China - Auto exports to Vietnam nearly triple, thanks to heavy truck sales

-- China has become Vietnam’s top source of automotive imports this year, surpassing the previous top exporter, South Korea... A crackdown by the Vietnamese government on a persistent problem of overloaded trucks that damage roads has also helped spur demand for low-cost heavy trucks from China even as demand for sedans made in South Korea and Thailand continues to grow... Vietnam imported 8,856 Chinese-made motor vehicles in the year through April, up from 2,274, or a 289 percent increase, from the same period last year, according to Vietnam Customs data posted Friday. Meanwhile, South Korea exported 7,744 vehicles in the first third of the year, up 48 percent from 5,231 in the same period last year. Vehicles made by foreign automakers in Thailand exported to Vietnam grew 165 percent, to 6,854 units... The most popular imported heavy truck in Vietnam is Toyota’s Chinese-made Hino, produced under a joint venture with China’s GAC. But peppered into the Vietnamese truck market are Chinese brands like JAC and C&C... While experts to Vietnam grew on demand for heavy trucks, China’s overall automotive exports have continued to decline this year, after dropping 7 percent to 910,400 units last year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers... 
(Photo from Reuters, by Fabian Bimmer - The logo of Chinese truck maker Dongfeng is pictured at the IAA truck show in Hanover, Germany, Sept 23, 2014. China's southern neighbor Vietnam has been importing a lot more Chinese-made heavy trucks this year)   --  China - IB Times, by Angelo Young - May 18 2015