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Apr 1, 2015

ALTERNATIVE FUELS * USA: Grease-to-biodiesel

* Minnesota - Grease-to-biodiesel truck startup raises nearly $1M


-- Revolution Fuels, a startup that mounts equipment for converting grease to biofuel on trucks, has raised nearly $1 million in funding, according to a regulatory filing... The St. Louis Park-based company rounded up $983,332 through the sale of equity and securities, the filing shows... Revolution plans to dispatch its trucks to food makers and other businesses that produce waste grease, according to its website. Equipment on the vehicles then converts grease into fuel. Customers can keep the fuel or let Revolution sell it...
(Photo: Revolution Fuels can make biofuel from waste grease)  --  St. Louis Park, MINN, USA - Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal - Mar 31, 2015

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TRUCKERS STRIKE * India - AIMTC, announcing that no trucks would cross the inter-state border

* Tamil Nadu - Cargo traffic to Kerala to be hit as truckers plan strike

   --  While members of All India Motor Transport Council (AIMTC) are keen on preventing vehicles from entering Kerala from April 1, the president of Tamil Nadu Truck Owners' Association said he would not support the strike. Kerala commercial tax commissioner G Krishnakumar has called for a meeting in Trivandrum on March 31 with the lorry owners' associations hoping to resolve the issue. The AIMTC members stationed at Walayar said they have stuck posters at Walayar check post announcing that no trucks would cross the inter-state border to protest against the alleged highhandedness of check post personnel... K Nallathambi, president, Tamil Nadu State Lorry Owners' Federation said that based on decisions made in New Delhi, lorry owners will not function in Tamil Nadu... AIMTC members would hold a press conference at Walayar on March 31 announcing the indefinite strike... Their demands also include setting up of a scanning centre and a secured parking lot with basic amenities...
(Photo: Trucks stranded on either side of the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border at Punajanur) -- Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India - The Times of India - Mar 31, 2015

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TRUCKING INDUSTRY NEWS USA: * Baltimore clean trucks - & Canada: The 407 Express Toll trucks billed for duplicate trips

* Maryland / USA - Baltimore Port extends clean-trucks program


-- The Port of Baltimore will combine a $200,000 U.S. Transportation Department grant with $300,000 in state funds to continue a program subsidizing replacement of old drayage trucks with newer, less-polluting vehicles... Owners and operators of short-haul drayage trucks will be provided with up to $20,000 to purchase new trucks that meet or exceed Environmental Protection Agency standards for 2007-model trucks... The funding is expected to support replacement of 22 older trucks. It will continue a program that has replaced about 100 older trucks in the port during the last several years. The money will be used to replace 1990 to 2003-model trucks that are in working condition and now operate in the port. The replaced trucks must be scrapped... 
Baltimore, MAR, USA - J. O. C., by Joseph Bonney - Mar 31, 2015


* Ontario / Canada - Trucking companies rack up thousands in tolls due to improper Hwy 407 billing

-- Commercial vehicles travelling on the 407 Express Toll Route have been hit with thousands of dollars in overbilling and duplicate billing... The all-electronic toll highway, which stretches from Burlington to Pickering, has been driving up an accounting nightmare for some trucking and trailer companies... According to documents obtained by CTV, commercial vehicles travelling on Highway 407 have been tolled twice for the same trip... Tractor-trailers travelling on the 407 Express Toll route have been improperly billed for duplicate trips, but highway representatives say it's rare... Toronto, ONT, CAN - CTV Toronto - March 30, 2015


* Ohio / USA - Lawmakers scrap highway speed limit increase


-- Ohio Lawmakers scrapped a proposal to raise highway speed limits to 75 mph that was opposed by the trucking industry... The proposed speed limit increase was originally part of the state’s transportation budget, but when a committee of Ohio House and Senate members convened to finalize the details of the budget, the changes had been removed... The Ohio Department of Transportation and trucking groups were concerned about the limit increase’s effect on highway safety. Speed limiters on trucks often keep them below 68 mph-- meaning that more passenger cars might attempt risky passing maneuvers resulting in more accidents... ODOT also noted that the highways were not designed for speeds greater than 70 mph, which could also pose safety risks... 
OH, USA - TruckingInfo - 30 March 2015


* Oregon / USA - Truck traffic at Hwy 97 border increased 25% in 2014

-- Southern Oregon has a sign of economic recovery: Lots more big rigs at the weigh scales on Highway 97 near the border with California... The number of trucks going through the scales just north of the California border took a sharp jump in 2014, rising to 238,000, the Klamath Falls Herald and News reported. That was a 25 percent increase from the year before... Phil Grant, of the Oregon Department of Transportation, and his seven employees staff the two Highway 97 scales just north of the Oregon Institute of Technology... (Photo by TrudyWilkerson, Getty Images/iStockphoto)  --  Klamath Falls, ORE, USA - Associated Press/Statement Journal - March 30, 2015

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TRUCKS PARKING SHORTAGE WORLDWIDE * USA & * Europe. Open the gates

* The lack of adequate truck parking


-- There are plenty of factors that contribute to tightening truck capacity and rising transportation costs, but one of the most overlooked is the lack of adequate truck parking. Securing a truck to haul a load may be problem No. 1 for many shippers, but for the truck driver, the big problem may be where to park that rig during breaks and rest periods... Truckers in the U.S.A. and in Europe have long complained of inadequate parking and rest facilities, both along highways and motorways and at or near customer locations. A big complaint: Receivers often refuse truckers access to their own property for parking... At its worst, truck parking is a life-and-death issue. In the U.S.A., truck drivers Jason Rivenburg and Mike Boeglin were robbed and murdered after parking in unsecure locations... The Department of Transportation (USA), is expected to soon complete a study, mandated by MAP-21, of the truck parking problem... For shippers, giving truckers greater access to their facilities, as Butterball (Turkey's Co) and others have found, makes sense and can save much more than money. In some cases, it could save lives...
(Photo: "The truck parking area dilemma”)   --  New York, NY, USA - J. O. C., by William B. Cassidy - Mar 30, 2015

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TRUCKING REGULATIONS * USA - The raw data can lead to inaccurate conclusions about carriers' safety

* DC - Truckers, GAO take exception to DoT mobile data app

  --  A Transportation Department mobile app that allows convenient access to online safety performance data for interstate truck and bus companies has raised the ire of trucking associations and the attention of government watchdogs who say some of the data could mislead the general public... Law enforcement, insurance companies and third-party logistics industries are the primary target for the app, but it can be used by the public as well, and that wider use has some in the trucking industry and at the Government Accountability Office concerned... Critics argue that the raw data can lead to inaccurate conclusions about carriers' safety if used to compare safety records for carriers such as bus lines and trucking companies... DOT says the app will aid both transparency and safety... The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said QCMobile retrieves data from a number of agency sources and provides a clear summary of the results for law enforcement officers and safety inspectors, who can then can retrieve more detailed information on carriers covering seven categories that are a part of the agency’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program... 
(Shutterstock image, by Henryk Sadura: Semi truck on a highway in Utah)  --  Washington, DC, USA - The Business of Federal Technologies, by Mark Rockwell - Mar 30, 2015


* DC - FMCSA denies brokers request for exemption from bond

  --  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said Monday in a Federal Register notice to be published Tuesday that the agency had denied an application from the Association of Independent Property Brokers and Agents (AIPBA) for an exemption for all property brokers and freight forwarders from the $75,000 bond provision included in MAP 21... The FMCSA said commenters writing in opposition to AIPBA’s application argued that the previous $10,000 bond requirement was originally set in 1979 and that small trucking companies, especially owner operators, will be better protected and have better business opportunities with the $75,000 bond... 
(Photo) -- Washington, DC, USA - The Trucker News Services - 30 March 2015

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WEATHER TROUBLES * Europe / Holland & * USA - KNOCKED TRUCKS OVER

* The Netherlands - Light trucks should stay off roads


-- Drivers of empty or lightly-loaded trucks are advised to stay off the roads Tuesday, a message from the Dutch infrastructure agency Rijkswaterstaat states. Strong winds have knocked trucks over on several highways, especially the A50, NOS reports... Heavy winds put the country under a Code Yellow weather warning for much of Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and a Code Orange advisory for northern provinces on Tuesday. Heavy winds up to 100 km/h are still expected on Wednesday, especially in the provinces of Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland, Zeeland, Friesland, Flevoland and Groningen, official government meteorology agency KNMI says... The winds do not only tilt trucks, but loosen the tarpaulins on trucks and trailers, which also leads to delays. Dutch driving association ANWB reported thirteen blown over trucks over the course of Tuesday, and supports Rijkswaterstaat’s advice. No serious injuries occurred as of Tuesday afternoon... The Traffic Information Service (VID) reported a total of sixteen fallen trucks and also encourages truck drivers to stay home...
(Photo: Jongen Rodenhuis / Twitter - Blown over truck on A6 highway. Mar. 31, 2015) -- Rijkswaterstaat states, Holland - The Netherland Times, by Taneli Savela - Mar 31, 2015


* Montana / USA - High winds topple two trucks on I-15 near Dillon


-- Extreme winds north of Dillon caused two semi trucks to tip over on Interstate 15 around noon Saturday... Two drivers were in the southern truck, and both were taken to the Dillon Hospital by ambulance. Neither had critical injuries... Half mile north of that another truck was blown over. There was one driver, no hospitalization was required... The Dillon Fire Department and Beaverhead County Sheriff Office were at the scene... 
(Photo by Gordon Voit-MTN News - Semi blown over on I-15) -- Dillon,MONT,USA - KPAX, by John Sherer - 30 March 2015

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Mar 31, 2015

TRUCKMAKERS NEWS * India: Ashok Leyland's

* Chennai - Ashok Leyland sells Czech truck arm for $11M

-- Hinduja Group flagship Indian company Ashok Leyland Ltd, the second-largest commercial vehicle maker in the country, has sold its entire stake in AVIA Ashok Leyland Motors s.r.o. to an unnamed strategic investor for $11 million, according to a stock market disclosure. Ashok Leyland acquired the firm in 2006... AVIA Ashok Leyland Motors operates as a vehicle and machinery manufacturer in the Czech Republic. Its products include tipper units, flat bodies, fridge bodies and box vans for car recovery vehicles and mini-skip wagon... It had stopped making trucks in October 2013 and since then has been only involved with auto components... Last Nov, Nissan International Holdings, a Dutch investment arm of Japanese automaker Nissan, bought 38 per cent stake in Ashok Leyland's engineering services arm Hinduja Tech... 
Chennai, India - VCCircle, by BHAWNA GUPTA, by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson - March 30, 2015

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TRUCKS SAFETY * Australia: All major truck crash incidents occurred on highways

* Victoria - NTI issues Easter holiday roads warning

-- Australia's leading truck insurer, National Transport Insurance (NTI), has issued a safety warning to all holiday-makers taking to the roads this Easter... NTI Chief Executive Officer Tony Clark said the company's new 2015 Major Accident Investigation Report showed half of all major truck crash incidents occurred on highways... He urged holiday-makers, who might normally spend a lot of time on city roads, to be alert if they planned to take to the national highways over Easter... Mr Clark urged the trucking industry to also step up over this busy time, when traffic on national highways increases... He recommended motorists keep in mind four tips when sharing the road with trucks this Easter: 
° Don't cut in: Trucks are heavier than cars, so need more space when stopping. For example, at 100km/hr a truck needs an extra 30m to come to a stop compared to a car travelling at the same speed. 
° Give trucks room to turn: Some trucks need extra room at corners, intersections and roundabouts. Trucks over 7.5m must carry a sign saying "Do Not Overtake Turning Vehicle". This means the truck can legally use two lanes to make their turn, and may need to turn left across your path to turn left. 
° Be aware of blind spots: Remember - if you can't see the driver's mirrors, he/she can't see you! 
° Overtake with care: It takes about 25 seconds to overtake a prime mover on the open road. That's a long time if you're on the wrong side of the road - and even longer if the truck is a B-Double or B-Triple. Make sure you have the time and clear visibility. 
VIC, Australia - Big Rigs - 31 Mar 2015

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TRUCKERS COMPLAINT * USA: CARB’s duplicity and rigidity has devastated small businesses and families throughout the state

* California - Personal accounts drive CARB hearings

-- The coordination hearings that took place March 13-14 in Fairfield not only revealed that the California Air Resources Board failed to “coordinate” the implementation of its regulations on trucks with local governments, but they revealed that the board’s regulations were arbitrary, unreasonable and are unsupported by scientific data... CARB’s duplicity and rigidity has devastated small businesses and families throughout the state and will continue to do so unless it is held accountable... Personal testimonies of truckers during the hearings were heart-wrenching. Families that have been in the trucking business for generations, had paid for their equipment, built a successful business and planned for retirement are seeing it stolen from them by an out-of-control bureaucracy... One local trucker testified that his only truck would arbitrarily no longer be allowed to operate due solely to age, although it met current emission standards... He applied for and accepted a $62,000 grant through the air quality district to help pay for a replacement truck. His old clean-running and debt-free truck was destroyed under CARB terms. At the time his business had heavy demand, but then the economy crashed and he was unable to make the payments on the loan. He voluntarily returned the truck. His once-thriving business was gone, he had no job and a debt on the truck he had returned... He is still struggling to provide a steady income and is now being sued by the air district for the grant he received... These people and many others provide jobs, spend money in the community and pay taxes. They were operating clean-running, legal vehicles that met motor vehicle standards. A segment of the transportation industry and its employees are now lost – thanks to CARB... The California Air Resources Board is required by 1976 law to enter into coordination with local governments before implementing its policies. Full coordination must be given with regard to economic, cultural and health effects of such proposals. CARB officials not only have ignored the law, but insist they will not comply... The Redding and Fairfield hearings were necessary first steps to initiate legal action against CARB and force them to respect the law... 
(Photo: One truck owner Henry Lee does what is best for his business, and one of those decisions has been to avoid trucking in California)  --  Fairfield-Suisun, CAL, USA - The Daily Republic, by Betty Plowman: A member of the Right Stuff Committee - March 31, 2015

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TRUCKMAKERS NEWS * Europe / The Netherlands: DAF's

* Holland - DAF and TNO demonstrate EcoTwin


-- During the Dutch "Automotive Week" in March, DAF and TNO demonstrated the "EcoTwin" project. This demonstration on the N270 near Helmond showed two truck combinations – wirelessly linked via WiFi – driving a short distance from each other, with the driver in the second truck not being required to accelerate, brake and steer. This was a first in the Netherlands... Truck platooning is the name for the concept where two trucks cooperate by driving a short distance from each other using automated driving technology. The intention of the EcoTwin experiment with TNO – the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research – was to show that the second vehicle is technically able to follow a short distance from the front vehicle, using radar and camera information, thanks to wireless communication between the two vehicles. During this process, the second vehicle can automatically accelerate, brake and even steer... The objective of the project with TNO is to reduce the gap between the two truck combinations as far as possible, so that fuel savings of 10% can be achieved in the long term, along with equivalent reductions in CO2 emissions... The next step after last week's demonstration is testing EcoTwin in the Rotterdam harbour area. The Port of Rotterdam Authority and the Transport en Logistiek Nederland (TLN) trade organisation are involved in this process and the programme is supported by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment... As a ground-breaking truck manufacturer, DAF is constantly exploring opportunities to further reinforce its leading position in the field of fuel efficiency and (thus) low CO2 emissions. EcoTwin is among the promising technologies and also contributes to general transport efficiency, which is one of DAF's spearheads in truck development... Rotterdam, Holland - Irish Trucker (Ireland) - 30 March 2015

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LAWSUIT AGAINST TRUCKMAKER * Switzerland / USA / China - Liebherr accusing workers, Chinese companies of copying mining truck

* Switzerland / USA - Lawsuit claims former workers stole truck secrets and gave them to Chinese companies for copycat production.
-- A large manufacturing company is accusing several former workers at its Newport News (Virginia/USA) production plant, of stealing thousands of design documents used to make huge mining trucks — then turning the information over for copycat truck production in China... In a case heading for a jury trial this summer, Liebherr Mining & Construction Equipment is suing six former employees: Richard Hudson, Larry Gollady, Marc Viau, Billy M. Lewis, Allen W. Cunningham and Francis Bartley, alleging they conspired against the company... Liebherr is also suing a Detroit engineering firm, the Michigan-based Detroit Heavy Truck Engineering, or "DHTE" — as are two officials, founder Liangyu "Mike" Huang, and vice president, Shenger "Ted" Ying, accusing it 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... All six workers — as well as the Detroit firms and the Chinese companies — have denied the allegations against them, saying they were not involved in a conspiracy to copy Liebherr trucks. One of the sued workers, the case's original defendant, died about a year ago... The complaint accuses some of the former workers of stealing documents by downloading files from their computers to thumb drives and USB devices, and says that one worker walked around the Newport News factory taking pictures of its layout and tools for use by a Chinese firm... The Liebherr mining trucks — built at a Newport News manufacturing plant on Chestnut Avenue, off Interstate 664 — stand 29 feet tall and have a carrying capacity of 400 tons, with tires taller than a grown man. That compares to a normal dump truck that stands 10 feet tall and has a 40-ton payload... The case, with the complaint first filed in late 2010, is being heard in Newport News Circuit Court before Judge Timothy S. Fisher, with a jury trial set for July. Numerous defendants and lawyers are involved, with court filings taking up two large boxes... Parties in China have been served with the Newport News complaint by way of the Hague Convention, an international agreement that includes rules on serving court documents overseas... The complaint asks for $40 million in compensatory damages, though it asks that that be tripled — to $120 million — under state rules on conspiracy. It also asks for $350,000 in punitive damages against each defendant... The suit alleges the conspiracy began in early 2010, when "Elite" wanted to get into the large mining truck business. Only five other companies in the world — including Liebherr — were involved in such production... They wanted to get into the business sooner rather than later, the complaint said, given the downturn in the economy and their thinking that customers around the world might want lower-priced alternatives to the high-end trucks...
(Photo: A heavy duty truck by Liebherr Mining Equipment) - Newport News, VA, USA -The Daily Press / Newport News - 28 March 2015

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TRUCKING INDUSTRY NEWS WORLDWIDE * Finland: 30 meters length trucks allowed

* Helsinki - More mega trucks to roll on Finnish roads


-- A lorry measuring over 30 metres in length can haul two large, 12-metre shipping containers, explains Tuomo Vallas, the managing director of Speed Group. “You can't fit two containers onto a regular 25-metre lorry, and you definitely can't take 1.6 containers,” he says... Speed Group is currently one of four companies to receive a special permit to operate larger lorries from the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi) since November 2013. The provider of road haulage services has been granted a five-year trial period to haul shipping containers from ports in Helsinki and Kotka to inland Finland... The number of mega trucks on Finnish roads may increase sharply in the coming years. Trafi is currently considering 19 permit applications for lorries over 76 tonnes in weight or over 25.25 metres in length. Thus far, a special permit has been granted for six such lorries, while a seventh one is likely to embark on its maiden voyage in the summer... Such longer and heavier lorries have been said to, for example, improve logistical efficiency, increase the competitiveness of export industries and reduce emissions from heavy road freight transport... For Speed Group, the lorries are means to hauling two shipping containers with a single vehicle... In the future, lorries operating under a special permit will become an increasingly common sight on main roads in Finland...
(Photo: Driver Petri Rouvinen pictured alongside a mega truck operated by Speed Group at Vuosaari Harbour in Helsinki) -- Helsinki, Finland - The Helsinki Times - 30 Mar 2015

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TRUCKS ACCIDENT * USA: “Once you hear the freight break loose and start sliding, there’s absolutely nothing you can do”

* Atlanta: Truck rollovers: Deadly hot spot of twisting highways

 -- It was almost midnight when Walter Price eased his 18-wheeler into the right lane on Interstate 75 near Atlanta. As he began to bank onto the exit ramp he’d been taking for the past 10 years, Price had no idea he was entering America’s most dangerous hot zone for truck drivers... As Price rounded the curve onto Exit 238-B that cold night in February 2012, a small black car darted in front of him on an otherwise deserted highway. The car’s driver slammed on the brakes to negotiate the exit’s sharp curve. Price had to veer left and hit his brakes to avoid a collision. But the curve was too sharp and Price’s 36-ton rig carrying car parts began to roll... Price was lucky. He survived his rollover; many others do not. Each year, hundreds of truck drivers die across the country on congested roadways and antiquated exit ramps like the one where Price crashed, as a crumbling interstate highway system, designed in the mid-1950s, bears the ever greater burden of a booming trucking industry... While the Prices felt lucky to survive their rollover, they were devastated financially. Price had to replace his destroyed truck and it took four weeks to get back on the road. Even with insurance, the total cost to him of a new truck and a month of lost wages: $100,000... The driver of the car who caused it all faced no consequences... “He just kept on driving, like they always do,” Price said. “They create accidents and they keep on driving like nothing happened. It’s brutal out here” ... Americans were reminded how lethal a rolling 18-wheeler can be for car passengers. Far less noticed are the rollovers that are especially deadly for truck drivers... Though they accounted for just 3.3 percent of all large-truck crashes, rollovers were responsible for more than half of the deaths to drivers and their occupants in 2012, the most recent year for which data are available. That’s 300 truck occupant deaths and 3,000 injuries every year. And among the 2.6 million workers in the U.S. who drive trucks that weigh more than 10,000 pounds (4,500 kilograms), crashes are the leading cause of on-the-job death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention... Overworked, distracted and sleepy drivers are causes of rollovers. But so too are outdated highway engineering and growing gridlock as trucking puts ever greater strain on the nation’s aging roadways. Truck tonnage hauled jumped to an all-time high in January, the American Trucking Associations reported. Truck freight may rise 5.3 percent this year from 4 percent in 2014, according to FTR Associates data compiled by Bloomberg, as job growth spurs U.S. consumer spending... The almost 10 billion tons of freight carried annually is taking such a toll on the nation’s highways that politicians of all stripes are angling to raise the money needed to fix them... The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last month sent a proposed rule to the White House for review that would mandate electronic stability control to take over braking on big trucks, like the technology now required on sport utility vehicles, pickups and cars. While industry opposition has held up the regulation, NHTSA says it could save 60 lives a year and prevent 2,329 crashes... In the U.S., crash prevention technology like stability control, along with greater seat-belt use, has helped to reduce overall highway deaths by 21 percent since 2003, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Truck occupant deaths, in part due to lax seat-belt use, have fallen less—16 percent since 2003... What hasn’t changed is the percentage of truckers who die in rollovers. It was 51 percent in 2003 and 52 percent in 2012, according to federal data analyzed by Arlington, Virginia-based IIHS... 
(Photographer: Laura Oda/Oakland Tribune/Zuma Press - Atlanta is the fatal center of the U.S. truck rollover syndrome, but the problem is nationwide. Above, a rollover near San Francisco backs up highway traffic at rush hour for nearly 10 miles)  -- Atlanta, GA ,USA   - Bloomberg, by Keith Naughton - March 30, 2015

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TRUCKS INSPECTIONS * USA: Commercial vehicle safety

* Pennsylvania - Cumberland County municipalities may team up to expand truck safety enforcement


-- Borough police may soon be conducting commercial vehicle safety inspections of tractor-trailers using South Middleton Township roads... Officials in both municipalities are exploring the possibility of entering into an agreement that would greatly expand the scope of stepped-up enforcement already in place in Mount Holly Springs... If enacted, the agreement would allow borough police to conduct roadside inspections anywhere within the township limits, whereas now the inspections only take place primarily along Baltimore Avenue (state Route 34) in the borough... Tractor-trailers make up an estimated 20 percent of traffic coming into the borough, with upwards of 125 trucks moving through during peak hours, the chief said... A tractor-trailer needs a special permit to haul more than 80,000 pounds of goods. There have been trucks stopped in Mount Holly Springs hauling upwards of 100,000 pounds without a permit... The talks involving South Middleton are being driven in part by the need to expand the number of safe locations for borough police to pull over trucks for the inspections. When truckers know that safety inspections are underway along Baltimore Avenue, they alert other truckers by way of CB radio and other devices... 
(Photo by Jason Malmont, The Sentinel - Mount Holly Police -A dump truck drives through the borough of Mount Holly Springs on North Baltimore Avenue on Friday afternoon. Large construction equipment and tractor-trailers are familiar sights in the borough, and Mount Holly is one of only a few area municipalities with authority to perform commercial vehicle safety inspections) -- Mount Holly Springs, PENN, USA - The Sentinel, by Joseph Cress - March 27, 2015

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INFRASTRUCTURES * Canada: 164 truck road test routes

* Ontario - Under the microscope: 164 truck road test routes

-- In September 2014 Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation reviewed all 164 truck road test routes in the province and found all but four compliant. That’s a compliance rate of 97.4 percent, which the ministry quickly upped to 100 percent... The ministry’s investigation quickly ruled that 109 out of 164 (66.5 percent) truck road test routes in Ontario were complaint. The ministry requested more details about the other 55 routes, including compliance with the rule that applicants are taken on a 100 km/hr expressway or an appropriate 80 km/hr substitute... Part of what’s legally required of a truck road test is that the driver is taken on an expressway, or if one is not nearby, taken to a section of highway with a minimum speed limit of 80 km/hr or a ministry approved alternative of equal difficulty. Trouble was that recent changes to speed limits impacted some road test routes in Ontario. Before the changes, some of the routes where truck drivers were road tested had a speed limit of 80 km/hr, but were reduced to 70 km/hr, making them non-complaint with road testing standards... Well, the ministry investigated and found that of the remaining 55 routes, 51 (or 92.7 percent) were compliant. That left only four routes (2.4 percent) non-complaint and those are no longer in use...
(Photo: City of Toronto View looking west from the Nielson Road overpass)  --  Toronto, ONT, CAN - Today's Trucking, by Teona Baetu - Mar 2, 2015

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TRUCKS' EFFICIENCY * USA: Shell's ones

* Kentucky - Shell partners with AirFlow Truck Co. to develop ‘hyper’ fuel-efficient ‘StarShip’ truck
-- Being a former racecar driver and enthusiast, it was only natural that when Bob Sliwa got involved with heavy-duty Class 8 trucks he would want a truck to be as sleek and aerodynamic as possible... His first foray into building a fuel-efficient truck in 1983 was a good start. It was squared off in front but had full-length tractor skirts and top fairings... People said his second fuel-efficient creation resembled a Bullet Train so it was called the Bullet Truck, and got 13.4 mpg on a trip from Connecticut, Sliwa’s home state, to the West Coast... According to Shell and Sliwa, initial designs call for the StarShip tractor and trailer to join together into a single integrated unit... This will solve the problem of having a gap between the tractor and trailer, which is a big source of aerodynamic drag and loss of efficiency, noted Sliwa. The tractor and trailer will also have newly designed side skirts, hood, front end and custom interior. A tractor-to-trailer Active Aerodynamics gap sealer and the trailer skirts will all retract below 35 mph or when coming up on obstructions such as a railroad crossing... The StarShip truck is expected to complete cross-country testing in 2017 as it seeks to establish new fuel economy records for a Class 8 truck... (Picture courtesy: SHELL) --  Louisville, KY, USA - The Trucker, by DOROTHY L. COX - 27 March 2015

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Mar 30, 2015

TRUCKERS' SHORTAGE * USA: Driverless trucks will make up the initial wave of autonomous vehicles

* Tennessee - Driverless trucks would ease shortage, create efficiencies

 -- Some experts think that driverless trucks might be roaming the highways first. The technology is in development now, and one University of Tennessee transportation expert believes autonomous trucks might be on the highway within a decade... Experts such as Umit Ozguner, a professor with Ohio State University's Center for Automotive Research, have predicted that driverless trucks will make up the initial wave of autonomous vehicles, as companies see the economic benefits of using them for long-haul freight... Mercedes-Benz has developed a prototype driverless truck it calls Future Truck 2025, which it plans to have in operation by that year. Using a combination of radar, cameras, the Internet and communications systems, the truck can drive itself. It will have a human on board, but this person would be more of a "transport manager" than driver... The driver merges the rig onto the highway, switches the truck to autonomous mode, then sits back to attend to other tasks. These might include duties that would otherwise be performed by dispatchers, getting information on loading or unloading points, monitoring traffic situations or other tasks. The driver also would be able to communicate with family and friends and take a break from the stress of having to focus on the road for long periods. However, the driver still would need to be able to retake control of the rig at any time and would have to handle tasks such as passing, changing lanes or leaving the highway... Knoxville resident Eugene Smithwho has been a driver for Estes Express Lines for 21 years, said getting a break from driving sounds good... The need to be able to retake control of the rig would seem to rule out sleeping... He didn't like the idea that trucking jobs could be threatened...  
(Photo)  --  Knoxville, TENN, USA -The Knoxville News-Sentinel/Bloomberg - March 29, 2015


* Iowa - CRST tackles driver shortage head on. Niche acquisitions propel revenue growth


-- CRST Expedited has a high turnover rate with teams, but that’s not uncommon in the industry. In fact, the national turnover rate for large carriers was 97 percent in 2014’s third quarter, according to the American Trucking Associations... Nationwide, the trucking industry is short about 35,000 drivers, according to the American Trucking Associations... In response, CRST has taken a number of actions. It has moved to hire 25 additional recruiters. The company also has reached out to returning military personnel as well as former Bakken oil field drivers... CRST had planned to buy 150 trucks in 2010. But Rusch changed that order to 700 trucks and 1,500 trailers... Today the company, which employs more than 7,000 drivers, independent contractors and office personnel, is projecting annual revenues to grow from $1.5 billion this year to $2.15 billion in three years. with its annual Howard Hall Excellence in Business award... 
(Photo. A truck training academy) -- Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA - The Gazette, by George C. Ford - March 29, 2015

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TRUCKING INDUSTRY * USA: Oil and gas truck traffic ahead

* Ohio - Increase in fracking trucks has drawbacks


-- The warning signs and convoys of semi trucks have become part of the landscape in eastern Ohio’s shale country, where a drilling surge has brought more big rigs to rural roads... The orange placards and the trucks they portend might be the clearest sign yet of the dual role locals say the region’s oil and gas industry has assumed as both economic engine and potential danger for drivers sharing winding two-lane roads with 18-wheelers... Those trucks haul stone, heavy equipment used to build well pads, drilling rigs and other materials. And tanker trucks are transporting water needed in the hydraulic fracturing process and the fracking wastewater that flows back up from the wells... Among the bad: a recent uptick in the number of crashes involving semi trucks in eastern Ohio counties and faster wear-and-tear onset because of the heavier traffic on roads... Some routes near processing facilities already have seen as many as 500 additional trucks a day, according to ODOT. For example, an additional 100 to 500 trucks a day were seen on Rt. 43 in Carroll County in 2013, the latest data available, compared with three years earlier... In its eight-county eastern Ohio district, ODOT has increased spending on pavement and guardrail maintenance in each of the past three years. Truck tires rolling over the edges of narrow roads, for example, are wearing out those edges faster... Upgrading from gravel or chip-seal to fully paved road surfaces is important to move truck traffic, but that leaves cash-strapped townships and counties with a more-expensive asset to maintain when the drilling is done... 
(Photo: Truck traffic of wastewater tankers from gas drilling)  --  Cadiz, OH, USA - The Columbus Dispatch, by Rick Rouan -March 29, 2015

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TRUCKS' PARTS MAKERS * Belgium: WABCO's - * USA: Detroit Diesel's - * Beltronics' - * Alcoa's

* Brussels - WABCO Showcases its Truck AMT Technology at MATS, Mid America Show


 -- WABCO announced Wednesday at the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) in Louisville, KY, USA, that its automated manual transmission (AMT) technology continues to increase market penetration among major truckmakers in North America. And the proof, according to the manufacturer, is a 110-percent increase of sales in 2014 from the year before... One of the fastest-growing major component segments in the North American commercial vehicle industry, automated manual transmissions have expanded in adoption to about 17 percent of new truck and bus production as of 2014. WABCO estimates that market penetration of the industry’s AMT solutions will reach one third of new truck and bus builds by 2019... WABCO’s AMT technology automatically engages the vehicle’s clutch and gearshift actuation. It takes into account the driver’s operation, engine torque, vehicle load and road inclination, resulting in optimized gear shifting. WABCO’s AMT technology helps improve fuel economy up to 3 percent on North American highways. In addition, it enhances driver ease-of-use and comfort, enabling them to further focus on vehicle and road safety... WABCO was first to market with AMT technology in 1986. Today, WABCO is the global market leader in automated manual transmission technology with 2.9 million AMT systems sold worldwide... (Photo: An automated manual transmission (AMT) technology from WABCO) -- Brussels, Belgium - Trucking News -March 26, 2015 


* Michigan / USA - Detroit Diesel starts production on integrated truck powertrain

-- Detroit Diesel Corp. last week displayed its integrated Detroit Powertrain at the Mid-America Trucking Show and announced it has started production of the components that make up the powertrain package... The integrated Detroit Powertrain features the Detroit DD15 engine with a new downspeed rating, a Detroit DT12 automated manual direct drive transmission and Intelligent Powertrain Management, and Detroit front and rear axles... The DT12 automated manual transmission, with the powerful new Intelligent Powertrain Management (IPM), uses pre-loaded terrain maps and GPS to know the route ahead and automatically adjust transmission and engine function for a smooth and efficient ride... The integrated Detroit Powertrain is available in the Freightliner Cascadia Evolution and the Western Star 5700XE... Detroit, MICH, USA -Trucking News - March 30, 2015


* Ohio / USA - No more speeding tickets!: Beltronics exhibits at MATS the STi Magnum Stealth Radar 

-- Beltronics, maker of the trucking industry's top-rated Beltronics Professional Series STi Magnum™ stealth radar and laser detector, is exhibiting the award-winning unit at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, March 26–28... This industry's top-rated stealth detector continues to be the professional driver's first choice in radar and laser ticket protection... Critical for over-the-road drivers, the STi Magnum™ includes Beltronics patented TotalShield™ Technology which eliminates all radio frequency emissions and renders the STi Magnum™ completely undetectable to any radar detector – especially all widely used VG2 nd Spectre series law enforcement receivers... (You Tube video, by Orange Snowman - The New HP-905 Compact Sensor Series provides protection against police laser guns) --   West Chester, OH, USA - PRNewswire - Mar 27, 2015


* Kentucky / USA - Alcoa introduces the Dura-Bright EVO at Mid-America

-- Alcoa announced the latest in a long line of aluminum wheel products as it unveiled – literally – the Dura-Bright EVO at the Mid-America Trucking Show on March 25...  Claiming that it’s the company’s most durable, easy-to-maintain commercial truck wheel ever, Alcoa VP and General Manager Americas, Victor Marquez, warned the assembled press corps. “I’ll be using the word ‘lighter’ about 300 times,” he said. "Is to drive out weight and maintain world class strength” ...  The newest Alcoa wheel, according to Marquez, is 10 times more resistant to corrosion primarily caused by road salts and weather elements, and four times more resistant to truck wash chemicals...
(Photo: An Alcoa aluminum wheels)  -- Louisville, KY, USA -The Trucker, by CLIFF ABBOTT - 27 March 2015

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TRUCKMAKER NEWS * China: Sinotruk's

* Shandong - Sinotruk to enter developed markets with high-end vehicles


 -- China National Heavy-Duty Truck Group Co, the nation's largest heavy truck exporter, is striving to expand its business into overseas high-end markets and make itself a top player in the sector worldwide... Sinotruk is also stepping up efforts to develop environmentally friendly heavy trucks aimed at high-end markets... The company produced engines that meet the Euro V emission standards in 2011 and got orders to export Euro V heavy-duty trucks to Brazil, Hong Kong and Taiwan... Sinotruk aims to increase the share of its exports of vehicles to 30 percent of the total, up from the current 20 percent, he said...
In 2009, Europe's leading heavy commercial vehicle maker MAN SE, owner of the Man brand, bought a 25 percent share and one stock share in Sinotruk Hong Kong and signed an agreement to transfer some advanced technologies to the Chinese truck maker... Sinotruk aims to increase the share of its exports of vehicles to 30 percent of the total, up from the current 20 percent... (Photo from China Daily: Sinotruk sold heavy duty trucks to the Republic of Kazakhstan) -- Beijing, China - China Daily/Xinhuanet - 27 March 2015

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Mar 29, 2015

TRUCKMAKERS NEWS * USA: Daimler's - Navistar's - Mack's - Kenworth's

* Oregon - Daimler says SuperTruck Program shows 115% efficiency improvement

 -- Daimler Trucks North America said its Freightliner SuperTruck has achieved 115% freight-efficiency improvement, more than doubling the Department of Energy’s goal of 50% improvement... DTNA said its final SuperTruck demonstrator ran a five-day, 312-mile round trip on Interstate 35 between San Antonio and Dallas. Running at a weight of 65,000 pounds and a speed of 65 mph, the truck achieved an average result of 12.2 miles per gallon...
Several technologies developed in conjunction with the program have been introduced in the Freightliner Cascadia Evolution, including aerodynamic components and the integrated Detroit powertrain... It also explored other technologies such as mirror cameras and an articulating grille that opens during low-speed and high-torque conditions to maximize cooling flow and automatically closes at highway speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag... DOE’s SuperTruck program was a five-year research and development initiative to improve freight efficiency by at least 50%, brake thermal efficiency by 50% and reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions of Class 8 trucks... 
Louisville,KY,USA -Transport Topics, by Neil Abt &  Seth Clevenger - 25 March 2015


* Illinois - Navistar makes OnCommand diagnostics system free, standard on International trucks


-- Navistar’s OnCommand Connection remote diagnostics system will now be free and standard on all 2007 and newer model International trucks, the company announced this week at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville... It no longer will be charging a monthly fee for the service, the company announced, and it will be giving new OnCommand subscribers what they call a “telematics credit” — a stipend of sorts that truck buyers can use to buy hardware and data service for telematics systems... The credit can be used on base model telematics hardware and two years of data service on International vehicles upon activiation of OnCommand, starting July 2015. Navistar does not yet have a firm dollar amount on how much it will provide, but will have more details in the coming months, it said...
(Photo: International's ProStar ES combines a bevy of fuel-saving systems rolled into one spec package)  --  Louisville,KY, USA - Overdrive, by James Jaillet - March 26, 2015


* North Carolina - Mack introduces product options that adjust driveline configuration to boost fuel economy

-- Mack Trucks introduced two new options for its Pinnacle highway model that monitor trailer weight and automatically adjust the truck’s driveline configuration to boost fuel economy... Mack’s new Load Logic system enables the company’s proprietary mDrive automated manual transmission to switch between direct and overdrive performance depending on payload... The truck maker also announced its 6x2 liftable pusher axle, which lifts or lowers based on whether or not the trailer is loaded... These two new product options are designed for applications where trucks typically haul heavy and return empty, such as bulk and liquid haul... (Photo: Mack Pinnacle models set the standard for flatbed, lowboy and transfer trailer applications for heavy-duty hauling) Louisville, KY, USA - Transport Topics - 26 March 2015 


* Washington - Kenworth launches W900 spin-off, improves efficiency of aerodynamic tractor


-- What’s old was new again at Kenworth’s display at the Mid-America Trucking Show... Kenworth introduced the ICON 900, a new take on an old favourite, its W900 classic-styled truck. The ICON 900 is on offer as a limited edition premium truck. Kenworth is currently taking orders. It features stainless steel fender guards, upgraded headlights, headlamp covers, under door panels and sleeper panels, grille close-out panel and large sun visor... It is available with a 72- or 86-inch sleeper and up to 600 hp. Each ICON 900 comes with a unique signature number badge... Kenworth also had news for the more efficiency-minded customer. The T680 Advantage tractor has received more fine-tuning, providing an additional 5% fuel economy, the company announced. This was achieved through engine improvements, predictive cruise, new aerodynamic features and driver performance improvements aided by an in-cab coaching system. The new T680 is 10% more fuel efficient than a base T680 built in 2013, officials said... Louisville,KY,USA - Truck News (CAN) , by James Menzies -March 25, 2015 


* Washington - Kenworth announces new technology to prevent battery drainage in trucks

-- Truck manufacturer Kenworth has unveiled a new technology dubbed, Engine Start Module (ESM) for trucks, which will protect the vehicle against battery drainage... The company has also introduced a new inverter/charger option, which will facilitate easier battery recharge of the vehicle while parked... The ultracapacitor-based ESM will be installed from the factory for the Kenworth T680s and T880s... It provides power to start the truck at high and low temperatures, which further allows the truck's standard batteries to focus upon charging accessory devices... Inverter/Charger is an enhanced 1,800-watt inverter fitted on the rear wall in the sleeper storage compartment, which is designed to provide AC power in the sleeper to facilitate the usage of appliances, entertainment systems and other devices... (Photo: 2013 Kenworth T700 tractor-trailer)  --  Kirkland, WASH, USA - ABR - 26 March 2015

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