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Jun 29, 2016

VOLVO * Canada - To pay $ 4,86M for a truck crash

* British Columbia - Volvo ordered to pay $4.8 million to Canadian couple after terrifying crash


--- A Canadian court has awarded more than $4.8 million to a husband-and-wife trucking team after finding in the couple’s favor that truck maker Volvo’s negligence contributed to their 2009 crash... The judgment from British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Barry Davies was published on June 23. It awards plaintiffs Amandeep Hans and his wife, Pavandeep, of Surrey, B.C., more than $4.86 million for the harm the couple suffered in their Jan. 31, 2009, crash on the Trans-Canada Highway in Manitoba. The province also sued Volvo and was awarded nearly $200,000 to cover medical costs... According to the judgment, the couple was returning home from a long trip that took them into the U.S. and eastern Canada. At about 10 p.m. near Falcon Lake, the truck – a 2009 Volvo 780 – lost all electrical power, including headlights, interior lights and power steering... Court records indicate Amandeep Hans screamed “What happened? What happened?” and then “We are going to die … we are going to die,” as the trailer began to sway uncontrollably and jackknifed on the highway. The trailer came fully around and struck the cab just behind the driver’s door, forcing the truck off the road and into a ditch where it came to rest on the passenger side... Pavandeep Hans, who was lying in the sleeper berth at the time of the crash, managed to unbuckle her husband and drag him out of the vehicle. Although not seriously wounded, court records indicate that Amandeep was in a state of shock and that in the seven years since the crash he has suffered from a debilitating case of post-traumatic stress disorder... The couple’s lawsuit alleged Volvo was negligent in “designing, manufacturing and installing” a critical cab positive terminal electrical connection, the failure of which caused the truck’s entire electrical system to shut down and the vehicle to subsequently crash... In a response filed with the court, Volvo admitted the collision was caused by a loose nut on the cab positive terminal but denied the plaintiffs established that the Swedish-based motor company was negligent in the design, manufacture or installation of the connection. The company also argued that the husband and wife were overstating the extent of the psychological injuries sustained by Amandeep Hans following the crash... The judge, however, concluded that Amandeep Hans’ PTSD was caused by the crash and that Volvo was negligent in installing the equipment, which caused the power failure. The power failure was attributed to the loose nut not being tightened “to the requisite torque value when the truck left the factory” ... The pair had been driving as a team since June 2005. They purchased the 2009 Volvo 780 in December 2007. The truck developed electrical problems, including a total electrical system shutdown on July 4, 2008. Court records indicate the electrical problems persisted until the Manitoba crash... 
(Photo: Hwy closed from Falcon Lake to Ontario Border)  --   Vancouver, BC, Canada - Land Line, by Greg Grisolano - 27 June 2016

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RENAULT TRUCKS * Saudi Arabia: First vehicle made in

* Renault Trucks begins production from its Saudi Arabia facility

--- Renault Trucks has begun assembling the new C and K range models at its recently launched state-of-the-art facility of Arabian Vehicles & Trucks Industry Co. Ltd. (AVI) situated in Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC)... AVI is a joint venture between Volvo Trucks Corporation, which owns Renault Trucks, and Zahid Tractor & ‎Heavy Machinery Co. Ltd... Implementing a new concept for an efficient and cost-effective truck assembly, the AVI facility is one of the first in the world to produce both Volvo and Renault trucks on the same assembly line... The first Saudi Arabia-built Renault Trucks have been assembled through the collaboration of a number of Renault-trained technicians, engineers, quality and logistics personnel from Bourg-en-bresse and a highly trained local AVI team... Tooling, fixtures, equipment, driven line, crane structures, special racking on the assembly line, proven tightening tools and different lifting and moving fixtures help the facility to run efficiently and seamlessly at optimum performance, producing up to 4,000 trucks annually for both brands combined... AVI’s knock down (KD) assembly facility is one of the first and biggest completed, fully functional projects in KAEC... 
(Photo: First Saudi Arabia-built Renault truck rolls out of AVI)   --   King Abdullah city, Saudi Arabia - Technical Review - 27 June 2016

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SAVING FUEL * USA: Reducing 500,000 barrels of oil

* DC - Feds ask trucks to guzzle less fuel, cut emissions

--- A federal proposal for trucks to increase fuel economy and cut carbon emissions would reduce diesel use by 500,000 barrels of oil by 2040, according to a new analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy... The standards, issued in 2015 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, take effect in 2021. They get tougher through 2027, according to the Energy Information Administration report... Typical passenger vehicles, which consume 59 percent of the country’s transportation energy, are not affected... The new rules would affect heavy-duty pickup trucks, school buses, ambulances, garbage trucks and semi-trucks, among others, which account for about 20 percent of U.S. transportation energy use... The goal of the new standards is for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to get 10.6 miles per gallon on average by 2040, a 33 percent improvement over current requirements... The energy administration report said “small changes in fuel economy” in those large trucks “can have outsized effects.” Switching from a truck that gets 8 mpg to the gallon to a truck that gets 10 has the same savings per mile as trading a car that gets 20 miles per gallon for one that gets 40, according to the report...
(Photo by Alan Sadler)  --   Washington, DC, USA - Fuel Fix, by David Hunn - June 28, 2016

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VOLKSWAGEN TO SPEND $10 Billion * USA: Emissions Scandal

* DC - VW emissions settlement to give owners choices


--- If the settlement with owners and government agencies is approved by a federal judge — which could happen as early as this fall — Volkswagen will spend up to $10 billion to either buy back or fix the cars and compensate owners for their trouble... Here are answers to questions about the deal, which is the largest class-action settlement in the history of the American auto industry: In either case, if you owned the car on or before Sept. 18, VW will pay you $5,100 to $10,000 for your trouble, depending on the age of the car and whether you owned it on or before Sept. 18. Buybacks will begin this fall if the settlement is approved. Owners will have until Sept. 1, 2018 to make a decision... You’ll get bigger payments for your trouble if you owned your car on or before Sept. 18, 2015. The payments are smaller if you bought it after that. VW also will buy out your lease if your vehicle was leased through Volkswagen Credit... 
(Photo: Eric Risberg / AP: Elizabeth Cabraser is the lead attorney for consumers who sued Volkswagen. The class-action deal is the largest in U.S. auto history)   --   Detroit, MICH, USA - Associated Press/The Detroit News, by Tom Krisher - June 28, 2016


* DC - VW faces long recovery after $14B emissions settlement



--- Volkswagen is facing a long road back to recovery after agreeing to spend $14.7 billion to settle consumer lawsuits and government allegations that it rigged hundreds of thousands of cars to cheat U.S. emission standards. Federal regulators called the agreement “historic” on Tuesday... The settlement was filed with a U.S. District Court in San Francisco. It calls for Volkswagen to pay more than $10 billion to either buy back or repair about 475,000 2-liter diesel vehicles that were sold between 2009 and 2015 and were built with devices to trick emissions testers... The company also will compensate owners who purchased 2-liter diesels before September 2015 with payments of $5,100 to $10,000, depending on the age of their cars... In addition, the German automaker will pay $2.7 billion into a federal environmental mitigation trust fund and spend another $2 billion for research on zero-emissions vehicles under the settlement... Analysts said the settlement is just the beginning of Volkswagen’s attempt to get out from under the shadow hanging over its brand since the emission scandal begin last September... 
(Photo: Markus Schreiber / AP: In this Oct. 5, 2015, file photo, the VW sign of Germany's Volkswagen car company is displayed at the building of a company's retailer in Berlin) -- Washington, DC, USA - The Detroit News, by Keith Laing - June 28, 2016

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TOYOTAS' RECALL * Japan

* Tokyo - 3.37M Toyotas recalled for faulty air bags, canisters


--- Toyota announced Wednesday it is recalling 1.43 million vehicles for defective air bags and another 2.87 million vehicles for faulty fuel emissions controls... Toyota Motor Corp. said it has not received any reports of injuries or fatalities related to either recall. Some 932,000 vehicles are involved in both recalls, so the total number of affected vehicles is 3.37 million... The cause of the defect is still under investigation. Autoliv estimated the cost of the recall to it at $10 million to $40 million... Toyota said cracks can develop in the coating of emissions control parts called the canister, possibly leading to fuel leaks...
(Photo: Eugene Hoshiko / AP: A worker walks past a Toyota car at a Toyota showroom in Tokyo, Wednesday, June 29, 2016. Toyota is recalling 1.43 million vehicles globally for defective air bags that aren’t part of the massive recalls of Takata air bags, the Japanese automaker said Wednesday)  --  Tokyo, Japan - Associated Press/The Detroit News, by Yuri Kageyama - June 28, 2016

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ENGINE MAKERS NEWS * USA

* California - 4-Cylinder engines ready to replace 6’s in trucks


--- A pair of truck manufacturers are about to breach the wall that has confined four-cylinder diesel engines to smaller commercial-duty truck classes... Fuel-efficiency demands and tightening emissions regulations will lead to the replacement of six-cylinder diesel engines with a new generation of bigger, tough four-bangers, said Shaun Skinner, president of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America, which is about to launch a new four-cylinder delivery truck... Companies deploying four-cylinder engine trucks in their delivery fleets say they are achieving fuel savings with no loss of performance or complaints from drivers... Freightliner Trucks is also eyeing the greater use of four-cylinder engines in trucks... Other truck engine builders, though, insist that they are sticking with six-cylinder engines for Class 6 and larger trucks... Likewise, Cummins Engine says its six-cylinder diesels provide greater durability in urban-duty use and believes drivers prefer the “smoother, faster acceleration” of the bigger engines... Cummins spokesman Browne said there “is a role” for four-cylinder, medium-duty truck engines in the U.S., but only in specialized applications...
(Photo - Freightlner says its Class 6 M2-series delivery trucks will get a new 5.1-liter four-cylinder diesel engine option by the end of the year)  --   Truck.com, by JOHN O'DELL - June 20, 2016

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Jun 28, 2016

MILITARY TRUCKING * Afghanistan / USA

* DC - Army seeks truck haulers in Afghanistan


--- The U.S. Army is seeking local Afghan trucking companies to transport equipment among U.S. military outposts in that country... According to a June 16 sources-sought notice, the U.S. Army wants vendors "with the capability of providing a secure and reliable means of distributing reconstruction material, security equipment, fuel, miscellaneous dry cargo and life support assets throughout the Combined Joint Operations Area-Afghanistan (CJOA-A) to and from Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), Combat Outposts (COPs) and other designated delivery sites. Transportation services include secure movement of supplies or equipment throughout Afghanistan/CJOA-A." ... The required transportation services include hauling bulk fuels, dry cargo and heavy cargo, according to the notice... Prospective vendors should have the "ability to fully mobilize within 30 days" and preferably be able to transport all three forms of cargo, although the Army will look at companies that can haul one or two of those forms, the notice states. They should also provide a list of the types and numbers of trucks they have on hand... Responses to the notice are due by 3:00 p.m. Central Time on June 30... 
 (Photo: MAN SV trucks enhanced palletised load system (EPLS) Combat Logistic Patrol Afghanistan)   --  Washington, DC, USA - Inside Defense (USA), by John Liang - June 21, 2016


* Virginia - Bemused motorists spot white 'combat vehicles' on the interstate

--- Military U.N. vehicles have been spotted in Virginia. The white trucks, equipped with large off-road tires, were seen being transported on Interstate 81 on Friday. They appear to be Alpine Armoring's Pit-Bull VX SWAT Truck models... The trucks models which cost from $225,000 to over $300,000... 

(Image from Alpine Armoring's catalogue shows the vehicle specifications) 
... The VX weighs in at 16,600lbs. Seating for two plus eight crew. Windows do not roll down, instead there are locked gun ports on the vehicle that can be opened to shoot bullets out or accept documents in and are even big enough to pass through a can of soda. Glass is a mini, and internal fans can keep bad air out, such as in the event of a gas attack, or bring fresh air in when reversed... PA system to speak to the outside world. Remote-controlled spotlights on the roof and pairs of red and blue strobe lights are mounted to each four sides of the vehicle... Every window on the vehicle is filled with ballistic glass that'll shed small arms fire like they're pebbles and even resist a close-range shot from a high-powered rifle. There are nine gun ports. The angled roof and floor are designed with anti-mine protection in mind and can repel modern frag explosives. Every door overlaps with ballistic steel so no stray bullets can penetrate at an angle... Fuel tank is fully protected and encased in ballistic steel... 
 (Photo by Jeff Stern:'Can't begin to tell you how many of these I passed today on 81 near Lexington VA, Interesting times ahead!') - VA, USA - The Mail Online, by Charlie Moore - 27 June 2016

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DRIVERS SHORTAGE * USA

* Iowa - Trucking companies looking for new recruits

... One out of every 13 Iowans works in the trucking industry — that includes truck driving instructor Randy Grey, who is beginning to think about retirement — along with many other truck drivers in the state... The average age of an Iowan truck driver is 57, so trucking companies are working to bring in new drivers... Trucking companies in Iowa are changing the way potential hires look at the trucking business... Surveys from the Iowa Motor Carriers Foundation shows 73 percent of Iowans surveyed have a positive view of what has been a thriving business for the state... With programs offering truck driving certification opportunities, like those at North Iowa Area Community College, new faces are considering this as a career... And with nearly 12,000 registered Iowa companies that send truckers throughout the country, it’s no wonder why they want to keep the trucker momentum going... The staring salary for a truck driver in Iowa is $43,000 a year... 
Mason City, Iowa, USA -  - KIMT, by Robyn Oguinye - June 20, 2016

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TRUCKING MARKET * Russia: Bankruptcies, consolidations, mergers'

* Russia - Shippers face less trucking options as industry consolidates
--- Trucking firms in Russia are consolidating and expanding their services in a bid to survive the country’s stagnant economy and remain competitive with containerized rail transportation... Consolidation is most directly impacting small- and medium-sized Russian trucking companies with fleets of up to 50 trucks that make up nearly 90 percent of Russia’s trucking capacity. Large trucking operations with 100 tractors or more make up 10 percent of the market... As the deteriorating market hit shippers, they sought to cut costs wherever possible, putting strain on Russian truckers and transportation firms, according to an official spokesperson of Russia’s Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov. In addition to smaller companies, consolidation is also disproportionately impacting niche carriers, the ministry said... Several trucking companies that specialize in containerized cargo have had to declare bankruptcy since the beginning of the year. Among them are Gruzovozoff, Avtotrading and Michailovskaya Transport Company, which which have 15 trucks to 17 trucks in their fleet and a similar number of drivers... The current financial uncertainty in Russia and poor business climate were the major reasons for Michailovskaya Transport Company’s bankruptcy, according to to Leonid Rodimov, the company’s general director. The company is considering several options to remain operational, including some type of merger, Rodimov said... Representatives of the other companies that are currently the subject of bankruptcy proceedings declined to comment, however, it is possible they may be sold to unnamed, larger competitors, according to some sources close to the companies... Among the largest players in Russia’s trucking industry are Delovy Lines, Garant-Container and SoyzHimTransAvto... The biggest merger to take place recently was sealed at the end of 2015 when the large Russian trucking company BigAvtoTrans acquired competitor Abi Product for an undisclosed sum, expanding BigAvtoTrans’ fleet by 80 trucks... In addition to competing on costs, Russian trucking companies are now expanding their value-added services, introducing door-to-door delivery and allowing for deferred payments. Many carriers have also revised their pricing policies with the aim of making them more flexible... The leading Russian trucking companies Ratek, Energia and Lorri are some of those that have taken this approach... Shippers operating in the Russian market have a growing appetite for comprehensive logistics services and demand is also growing for expedited delivery and warehousing services, according to the Ministry of Transport... 
Moscow, Russia - JOC, by Eugene Gerden - Jun 20, 2016

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Jun 27, 2016

HIGHWAY RUNNERS * Pakistan - A day in the life of truck drivers.

* Punjab - Truck drivers find ways to break the monotony from a life on the go, and how

(Video from Northern Areas of Pakistan - Apr 5, 2016: Brave Truck Drivers are real heroes of mountain communities.. Video By - Zahid Hussain Syed-24 June 2015)

--- On GT Road near Jhelum, a row of artfully decorated, fully loaded trucks can be seen from a distance. They are moving at a slow pace but occupy most of the road space, making it impossible for the fast-moving vehicles to overtake them. Ignoring the repeated honks and the high beams hitting the side- and rear-view mirrors, they do not move an inch to accommodate others. One can read phrases like “queen of the road” or “princess of the mountains” painted on the rear, and realise that the drivers in command literally mean it. They behave like royalty, and assume they have the first right to the highways spread across the country... A closer look into the lives of truck drivers, mostly belonging to the low-income group, uncovers the many perilous adventures they undertake. They are given charge of merchandise worth millions and tasked to deliver it at distant destinations that sometimes take a week to reach. They lead a lonely life. A driver and his helper travelling on inter-provincial routes get to meet their family twice or thrice a month only, and with trucks at the centre of their otherwise dull lives, they socialise among themselves at roadside truck hotels...


... Muhammad Yousaf, 47, who drives a 14-wheel trailer, has many times travelled from Karachi as far up as Swat in the north. A father of four, he remains connected with his family through his mobile phone — a luxury he did not enjoy when he joined this profession back in the early 1980s as a helper. Those were the times when PTCL landlines were the only means to connect with others and people were not as addicted to telephonic conversations as they are today... The number of trucks increased when the National Logistic Cell (NLC) was set up during the Afghan war and a countrywide network of highways was established costing billions of rupees. Cargo, which was to a great extent a domain of Pakistan Railways, went over to the road transport companies. Bedford trucks, trusted for their engine power and long life, were imported especially for the purpose...


 ... Plenty of truck hotals or khokhas emerged along the highways and busy routes with the increase of transport of goods by road. Despite their unattractive sitting area, crockery and cutlery, they remain busy all day long. Frequented by long haul drivers and other passersby, truck hotals are all-weather businesses as movement of goods cannot stop even in worst of conditions... Zaheer Khan, a truck driver from Peshawar, says khokhas are like oases in deserts. “They give us the break we need.” Their menu caters to people from all the provinces. There are also others that specialise in food varieties of a particular province and target a niche clientele. “There is no compromise over quality. You cannot feed low-quality food to a native of a province, claiming it to be its specialty and stay in the business for long,” says Khan... Mutton roast, namkeen gosht, Shinwari gosht, desi chicken qorma and karahi, washed down with mix tea or qehwa, are some of the specialties of these khokhas. Drivers are also provided charpoys for a quick nap for free or at a nominal price. And the lingo used at these hotals is exclusive — “Light tea is called 100km wali chai and strong is 500km wali chai” ... He dispels the impression that drivers have a hefty budget at their disposal to spend on lavish food. A truck owner gives them Rs1,200 per day, which is divided among two drivers and a helper. So, to make an extra buck, “we carry cargo of hotal owners for free and get free or discounted food,” adds Khan... From the sum of Rs1,200, they have to save some to bribe policemen, staff of excise department, and other officials deployed at inter-border checkposts...


... And theirs is one risky business — where they carry expensive goods and cash for fuel and incidentals, they are not allowed to carry weapons. Peer Bakhsh, a driver from interior Sindh, says that truck drivers move together at night especially while passing through risky areas to avoid robbers. “If you are intercepted, they deprive you of your belongings like cash and mobile phones but don’t usually put their hands on the merchandise. We do hide some money in different secret spots inside the truck but the clever ones ultimately retrieve it and beat us badly for trying to be smart” ... 
(Photos by Rahat Dar - A day in the life of truck drivers) -- Jhelum. Punjab, Pakistan - TNS, by Shahzada Irfan Ahmed - June 19, 2016

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TRUCKERS' PROTEST * Australia

* NSW - Truckies protest for safe rates

  (Video from TWU NSW - Jun 21, 2016: On 19 June 2016 Truck drivers, their families and the families of those killed in truck crashes held co-ordinated convoys and protests around the country to demand an end to pressure in the industry which is causing deaths and injuries) 

--- Hundreds of truck drivers, their families and the families of those killed in truck crashes have held co-ordinated convoys and protests around the country to demand an end to pressure in the industry which is causing deaths and injuries... A convoy of more than 240 drivers and vehicles crossed Sydney's Harbour Bridge on Sunday before dozens of family members joined them for a rally in White Bay... South Australian transport workers held a go-slow on the South Eastern Freeway in Adelaide with a rally afterwards at Torrens Parade Ground... Drivers and community supporters gathered at Murray reserve in Melbourne before crossing the West Gate Bridge in a 50-vehicle convoy... In Perth transport workers gathered for a protest at Parliament House, in Queensland a community meeting was held at Redcliffe CWA Hall while in Darwin there was a protest at Parliament House... The Federal Government has opposed a system of Safe Rates, which would ensure drivers are not pushed to break safety rules... The Government's own reports published in April show the link between road safety and the pay rates of drivers and that the safe rates system would reduce truck crashes by 28%... Truck driver Mark Trevillian said that change in the transport industry is desperately needed... Sue Posnakidis, whose brother John died in a truck crash in 2010, attended the rally in Adelaide... Last month 17 people died in crashes invovling trucks; in April there were 24 deaths; in March there were 25 deaths... 
Sydney,NWS, Australia - Big Rigs - 20th Jun 2016

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FATAL ACCIDENTS * Australia: 82% cars drivers was a fault

* ACT - 'Cars at fault in 82% of fatal crashes with trucks'


--- A blog posted to the Driver Safety Australia website recently says car (non-truck) drivers are at fault in 8 out of 10 fatal accidents that involve a truck and another vehicle, according to the latest study into serious truck accidents by the National Transport Insurance (NTI) accident research centre... The NTI Major Accident Investigation Report found that in 7 out of 10 major truck accidents there are no other vehicles involved. However, in fatal crashes involving other vehicles, the other driver was at fault in 82% of the accidents... NTI has reinforced the findings of its National Truck Accident Research Centre (NTARC) study following the broadcast last week of footage that showed a crash between a truck and car in a busy tunnel. Truck drivers hit back saying that car drivers are the root cause of many accidents... The investigation covered 323 major crash incidents ($50,000 in value) from 2009 with a combined cost of $44m. The NTI Major Accident Investigation Report also found: 
 - Inappropriate speed for the conditions and fatigue are the leading causes of serious truck accidents at 41.9%. Fatigue-related serious truck crashes have reduced by 50% since the last study 
 - NSW has 36.5% of major truck crashes, a figure which has worsened since the 2007 NTI truck crash incident data analysis 
 - Victoria has an improved result, with WA and Queensland overrepresented in major truck accidents relative to the freight task. Queensland's Bruce and Warrego Highways were the worst with proportionally more incidents than any other major roads. 
 - Losses on the Hume dropped substantially since 2003, from 11.1% to 2.5% of major truck crashes 
 - The bigger they are, the safer they are - B-doubles carry 46% of freight yet account for only 28% of serious truck crashes. 
... NTI has used the research to establish a new panel of experts to address safety issues within the road transport industry... 
(Photo: Truck driver presumed dead in fiery fatal crash found alive. Scene of the fatal car crash on the Glenelg Highway, just north of Tarrington) -- Canberra, ACT, Australia - Big Rigs - 24th Jun 2015

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EXTENDED CANAL * Panama: Port of Houston & Carolinas' aims to be distribution hubs

* Supersize Panama Canal could increase direct trade with Asia

--- Years of construction, delay and anticipation will crest on June 26 as the first containership officially traverses the expanded Panama Canal. While the Central American channel has not always been a significant trade route for the Port of Houston Authority, officials say the expansion could help boost its burgeoning trade with Asia... A decade or so ago, the Port Authority didn't receive any containerships from Asia. Now three of its 18 weekly scheduled arrivals come from Asia via the Panama Canal. All are major carriers, and together they account for a significant chunk of the port's container's business. The most recent service began a few weeks ago... The Port Authority doesn't know when one of the dramatically larger containerships that can now maneuver the Panama Canal will arrive in Houston, but it expects shipping line carriers with weekly services from Asia to consider using the larger vessels... Bigger ships bring down the cost per container. In theory, the expanded canal's ability to receive such vessels could help the Port of Houston attract ships that have been docking along the West Coast and using railroads to ship goods inland. Sailing straight to Houston with more goods could become an affordable alternative...
 (Image: Panama is expanding the capacity of the Panama Canal, through the addition of a "third lane" of locks)  --  Panama Canal - Transport Topics, by Andrea Rumbaugh & Emma Hinchliffe - 24 June 2016


* USA / Carolinas Ports getting ready for bigger ships from Panama Canal

--- The North Carolina State Port Authority is nearing completion of infrastructure improvements designed to prepare the Port of Wilmington for larger ships traveling through the new locks at the Panama Canal. Seven years after the worldwide competition to build a new set of locks, the canal started accommodating larger ships June 26. This is expected to have wide-ranging effects on the flow of goods to and from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas... For more than 100 years, the Panama Canal has helped power the world economy. Hundreds of ships travel through the canal’s original locks every month... 
(Photo: Another aerial view Panama's Canal expansion) -- South Carolina, USA - Transport Topics - 27 June 2016

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Jun 26, 2016

SELF DRIVING TRUCKS * USA: MILITARY CONVOY

* Michigan - U.S. Army launches live test of self-driving trucks

--- The U.S. Army tested technology to power a driverless truck convoy along an empty stretch of Michigan highway Thursday as part of the first step toward a network of fully autonomous cars and trucks... The state government’s partnership with Warren, Mich.-based U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, or TARDEC, also raised the possibility that Michigan will be ground zero in developing autonomous technology for commercial trucks... TARDEC is developing its vehicle-to-infrastructure capabilities to increase safety, reduce distracting tasks and carry supplies for soldiers, he said... The four-vehicle convoy of tractor-trailers on Interstate 69, about 40 miles east of Flint, Mich., showed the trucks’ ability to communicate with roadside units set up by the Michigan Department of Transportation. The so-called vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) connectivity is a crucial step toward building a network of autonomous commercial trucks and passenger vehicles... Eventually, V2I will be able to send vehicles information about traffic signals and relay information about collisions on the road, among other data... The Army’s partnership with the state signaled Michigan’s enthusiasm to be seen as a leader in next-generation mobility and innovation... 
 (Photo: U.S. Army - U.S. Army self-driving truck gets ready for a test on a Michigan highway)  --   Warren, MICH, USA - Trucks.com, by JACLYN TROP - June 23, 2016

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NAFTA freight * USA: 16th straight decrease

* DC - U.S.A. / NAFTA: Freight down from previous month

--- Trucks carried more U.S. freight by value with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico in April 2016 compared to April 2015 but declines in all other freight modes led to a 3.2 percent decrease, to $90.4 billion, in total cross-border freight. April was the 16th consecutive month that the value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight declined from the same month of the previous year, according to data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS)... The value of commodities moving by truck increased 0.8 percent as the value of incoming freight from Mexico and Canada exceeded the 3.6 percent decrease in shipments from the U.S.A... Trucks carried 66.8 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight...
(Photo: Truck traffic backs up south of the Ambassador Bridge approach Tuesday in Windsor, Ont.)  --  Washington, DC, USA - The Trucker News Services - 23 June 2016

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Jun 24, 2016

NIKOLA TRUCKS * USA: Electric range-extended trucks

* Utah - More than $3 billion worth of pre-order for zero-emissions tractor unit


--- Nikola Motor Company, an American manufacturer that wants to build electric range-extender semis, has announced it has raised $2.3 billion in the first month since they opened pre-sales... The company will unveil its first electric truck prototype on December 2, 2016, in Salt Lake City, but has over 7,000 reservations for the production model... They announced the intention to launch such a vehicle last month. The model is classified as an electric class 8 semi-truck, and it is called the Nikola One... Instead of diesel or gasoline, the truck uses compressed natural gas (CNG). However, it is not a hybrid, as the CNG utilized by this vehicle does not go to a motor that is linked to the wheels... The truck is powered by six electric motors, which are backed by a 320 kWh Lithium-Ion battery. The latter is charged by a range extending turbine, which will only operate when the battery pack requires it... A major selling point of this semi is the leasing program, which will only cost between $4,000 to $5,000 per month, depending on chosen configuration and options... The coolest part is that Nikola provides its customers with the first million miles of fuel included for every truck sale, a move which offsets 100% of the monthly lease for each owner. According to the truck maker, a diesel truck would have used around $400,000 in fuel for the same mileage, along with maintenance bills of over $100,000 for the distance, and Nikola includes those as well... 
Salt Lake City, UTH, USA - Autoevolution, by Sebastian Toma - 14 June 2016

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ELECTRIC ROADS * Sweden - FOR HEAVY TRANSPORT

* Sweden - Inaugurates first electric road

--- Sweden on Wednesday inaugurated a test stretch of an electric road, making it one of the first countries in the world to conduct tests with electric power for heavy transports on public roads... The test will be conducted on parts of road E16, and involves a current collector on the roof of the truck cab feeding the current down to a hybrid electric motor in the truck, according to a press release from the country's transport administration Trafikverket, Xinhua reported... The tests will continue up through 2018. They will provide knowledge of how electric roads work in practice, and whether the technology can be used in the future. The experiment is based on the governments goal of energy efficiency and a fossil fuel-free vehicle fleet by 2030, and will contribute to strengthening Swedens competitiveness... 
(Photo: Sweden on Wednesday inaugurated a test stretch of an electric road)  --  Stockholm, Sweden - IANS/ETAuto (India) - 23 June 2016

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TOYOTA * India: Open engine plant

* Bengaluru - Toyota Industries Engine opens engine plant in

--- Toyota Industries Engine India (TIEI) has inaugurated a new engine production plant at Jigani Industrial Area, Bengaluru, on Thursday. TIEI is a joint venture between Kirloskar Systems (KSL) and Toyota Industries Corporation - Japan (TICO)... Spread across 22 acres with an investment of Rs 1,100 crore, the engine manufacturing plant operates with a production capacity of 108,000 units/year and manufactures 1GD-FTV 2.8 litre & 2GD-FTV - 2.4 litre engines in compliance with BS 4 / Euro 4 emission standards with an additional provision to upgrade to BS 5 and 6 / Euro 5 and 6 with minimum investment and lead time in the future... This facility is the first Global Diesel Engine Plant of Toyota in India and third globally, after Japan and Thailand... 
Jigani, Bengaluru, India - ETAuto - 23 June 2016

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DATA ANALYTICS for TRUCKING * USA

* New York - Keys to harnessing the data tsunami

--- When truck-maker Navistar debuted its OnCommand Connection in 2013, its open architecture promised to make the benefits of big data analytics available to fleet operators, regardless of which truck brand or telematics provider they used. Making it a free service in 2015 on its 2007 and newer trucks made its base telematics capabilities all but standard, and only ensured that it would grow significantly... It triggered a tsunami of data... The analytics team is working on at least four keys to harnessing its data tsunami, and putting it to work across Navistar’s business: 

* First, it clusters usage in hopes of identifying service issues, but finding actionable insights can be complicated. 
 * Second, it also looks for product design insights, and was considering producing a vehicle to satisfy the needs of low-frequency users (it could be made of lighter duty components, and therefore cost less). 
 * Third, it looks to flag service issues before they appear in warranty claims, primarily to improve customer satisfaction

... Finally, the team strives to keep its head out of the weeds... The next key will be building models for understanding marketing/sales expenditures, with an eye to forecasting return on investment the same way the team has proven it can predict mechanical issues... 
(Image from Navistar: An International Truck equipped with OnCommand Connection)  --   NY, USA - Forbes by Jonathan Salem Baskin - 13 June 2016

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TRUCKERS & HIV MIGRATION * India

* Delhi - Can 'Use dipper At Night' catchphrase help drivers curb HIV in India?

--- Drivers indifference towards importance of safe sex leads to the migration of the virus from high prevalence to low prevalence zones... The year was 2002. Prasoon Joshi, current APAC chairman of McCann Worldgroup, was working on an HIV awareness campaign for NACO (National AIDS Control Organisation). Researchers from his team were asking men from Tier II and III towns if they were inclined towards wearing a condom. One respondent told them that he wears a condom everyday but it gets loose by the evening. He didn't know a condom is to be worn during sexual intercourse. And then there's the possibly apocryphal story of a man who after seeing a demonstration of a condom on a banana, apparently covered the fruits with rubbers to stay safe from AIDS... The awareness around the disease and its causes has increased over the years but is still far short of the mark. And one classic 'low-awareness high-risk' category is truck drivers: a highly mobile population who spend their nights and days traversing the roads and highways of the country. And who tend towards promiscuous sexual behaviour...

... As per Dr Munish Chander, head of TCI (Transport Corporation of India) Foundation, HIV prevalence among truckers at 3.2% is higher than the national figure of 0.69%. And so, the foundation keeps trying to educate them on the significance of safe sex...  Similar to its mission is that of Tata Motors one of India's largest truck manufacturers. Over the last few years, the brand has decided to take the issue of AIDS head on. In April, Tata Motors launched a campaign called 'Use Dipper At Night'...  It's a phrase that resonates well with almost every truck driver in the country. But what has a night-driving guideline got to do with safe sex? Well, pretty much everything if you start a condom brand named Dipper, marketed exclusively to truck drivers...
  (Photo 1: Indian truckers walk through parked trucks) -- New Delhi, India - ET, by Shephali Bhatt - 22 June 2016

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SILVERADO vs F-150 * USA: Superiority of steel

* Michigan - When it comes to truck beds, perhaps Chevrolet's jabs at the Ford F-150 aren't so unreasonable after all

(Video from Chevrolet - Jun 7, 2016: "We compared the roll-formed, high-strength steel bed of the Chevy Silverado to the aluminum bed of the Ford F-150. See how they held up") 

--- One day after Chevrolet released a series of videos that “poked holes” at Ford for using aluminum on the beds of its F-150 pickups, the online jury of pickup owners has ruled Chevrolet in contempt — but a metallurgist and a leading maker of truck beds say General Motors was absolutely right to point out the superiority of steel for truck beds... In the videos, Chevrolet drops about 55 landscaping blocks into the beds of both the Silverado and the F-150 from a height of 1.5 metres. In 12 trials, GM says that the Silverado received only scratches and dents, while the F-150’s bed was punctured every time... 
Detroit, MICH, USA - Driving, by Derek McNaughton - June 10, 2016

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FIAT CHRYSLER SUITED * USA: By concealing a shifter defect

* California - Fiat Chrysler accused of concealing defect in Jeep Grand Cherokee

--- Owners of Jeep Grand Cherokee on Thursday filed a suit in California against Fiat Chrysler, accusing the automaker of concealing a shifter design defect linked to driverless rollaway accidents, including the death of 'Star Trek' actor Anton Yelchin earlier this week... The class-action complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Riverside, California also alleged the automaker tried to cover up hundreds of related accidents that caused injuries and property damage and dragged its feet in furnishing a remedy for the issue... The plaintiffs are seeking restitution for the diminished resale value of their Grand Cherokees stemming from the "raft of negative publicity" surrounding the recent disclosure of the rollaway problem... The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has said the gear selector in question clearly poses a safety issue that has led to hundreds of crashes and dozens of injuries. The agency said testing of the electronic shifter found it "not intuitive and provides poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver, increasing the potential for unintended gear selection" ... 
(Photo: Jeep Cherokee, UK drive)   --  Los Angeles, CAL, USA - Reuters/ET Auto (India) - 24 June 2016

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STRIKE * India: Transporters to stop loading automobiles

* Gurgaon - Protest against ban on oversized trucks

--- District transporters have decided to go on strike starting from June 27 after they failed to get a relief from chief minister on Saturday. The transporters will not carry goods from four automobile companies from Friday. This is in retaliation to transport department's refusal to issue fitness certificates to over sized vehicles... The four companies included Hero MotoCorp Limited, Honda Motor Company, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India private limited and Suzuki Motorcycle India. The transporters will not load goods for these companies in order to protest against the decision to not give them an extension for fitness certificates... Out of around 15,000 heavy vehicles in Gurgaon, more than a 10,000 have been off road as they do not have a fitness certificate. The Regional Transport Authority (RTA) stopped renewing certificates to the trucks who had altered their body from January 7 this year. Overloading in trucks had become a major concern for RTA and toll agencies as it leads to revenue loss to state Exchequer... The issue of oversizing of trucks was raised in 2015 and at that time the state government had given the transporters a year's time for the necessary changes... 
(Photo from Wikipedia)   --  Gurgaon, India - TNN, by Chetna Choudhry - 20 June 2016

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OLD TRUCKS OFF THE ROADS * India: Vehicle modernisation programme

* Delhi - Incentives likely only for buyers replacing old commercial vehicles with new ones

--- The primary intention is to reduce emissions and the priority is to get old fuel-guzzling and polluting trucks off the roads, said government sources... The voluntary vehicle fleet modernisation programme (V-VMP) that the government is working on will focus initially on incentivising buyers of new commercial vehicle and keep passenger vehicles out of its ambit... The programme proposes to offer tax benefits and discounts to people who junk old vehicles and replace them with new ones... According to government estimates, the programme may take 28 million polluting vehicles off the road. The scheme would enable domestic generation of Rs 11,500 crore worth of steel scrap every year... A second government official said staterun MSTC and several Japanese companies have evinced interest in setting up recycling and shredding centres for vehicles... 
(Photo) -- New Delhi, India - ET, by Sharmistha Mukherjee - 22 June 2016

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Jun 23, 2016

TRUCK OFF ROADS * India: With 15 year old

* Bihar - 15-yr-old commercial diesel-run vehicles go off Patna roads

--- Not a single commercial diesel-run vehicle could be caught on Day 1 of the ban imposed by the Bihar government on plying of such vehicles in Patna from June 15... However, the massive vehicle-checking exercise undertaken for the purpose added Rs 1.86 lakh to the state exchequer as the transport and police department personnel fined 106 of the 840 vehicles checked on the day... The drivers of these 106 vehicles, including 102 autos, were fined for not possessing valid documents like driving licence, pollution certificates etc, according to Patna divisional commissioner Anand Kishor, who was present during the checking... The CM has also directed the government agencies to draw up a plan to control pollution and curb burning of plastic and solid waste in the open... The state transport authority had mooted such a ban as early as October 2013, but it could not be effected then... 
Patna, Bihar, India - TNN, by Sheezan Nezami - 16 June 2016

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LOUD POLLUTION * India

* Mumbai - Indian vehicles are much louder than automobiles elsewhere in the world


--- Indian vehicles are probably much louder than automobiles elsewhere in the world. According to auto industry experts, India's noise cutoff for horns at 93 decibel (dB), according to the Central Motor Vehicle Rule (CMVR) 119is in line with international standards, but the top end of the noise rangeat 112dB is higher... Also, a lot of vehicular noise is caused by air horns and multi-toned horns, as TOI campaign in association with Awaaz Foundation has highlighted. The import or local production of these air horns is not controlled or monitored... Auto experts say the 93-112dB horn noise level for vehicles in Indiameasured at a distance seven metres from the position of a horn and at a height of 0.5 to 1.5 metreswas on par with EU standards until recently... The matter is now under consideration of an expert committee set up by MPCB. Meanwhile, a draft notification for an Ambulance Code for sirens has been prepared by the ministry of road transport and highways where the range is 110-120 dB...
(Photo: Tata Motors launches Zest -compact sedan-, 9 Jun, in Colombo -Shri Lanka) -- Mumbai, India - TNN, by Nandini Sen Gupta - 21 June 2016

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