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Aug 29, 2015

MIGRANT CRISIS * France / UK: Truckers suffer intimidation and violence

* England - Firms dig in for the long haul as they count cost of migrant crisis


-- Intimidation, threats of violence, spoilt goods and missed deliveries resulting in spiralling costs – all things Yorkshire drivers and haulage firms are having to deal with on an almost daily basis owing to the migrant crisis in Calais... Nidd Transport, which is based near Ripon, North Yorkshire, sends four or five trucks a night through the Eurotunnel... Its drivers have suffered intimidation by migrants in Calais and have had goods ruined by stowaways who manage to make their way into the back of lorries, and it has had to absorb significant costs of re-routing loads through northern ports to ensure customers’ needs are filled. Commercial director Steve Curtis said: “This has been going on since May" ... Over recent weeks, thousands of migrants have to attempted to get to the Channel Tunnel, and an estimated 5,000 migrants from countries including Syria, Libya and Eritrea are believed to be camped in and around the port...  The delays put on haulage firms bringing in freight from continental Europe have a knock-on effect on other Yorkshire firms... 
(Image: An estimated 5,000 migrants from countries including Syria, Libya and Eritrea camped iaround the port, to get to the Channel Tunnel)  --  Calais, France / Yorkshire, EN, UK - The Yorkshire Post - 15 August 2015

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TOLLS DEBATE * USA: Thruway tolls

* New York - Appeals Court revives Modena trucking company's challenge


-- A federal appeals court revived this month a previously dismissed class-action lawsuit in which an Ulster County trucking company and a hauler with operations in Orange County joined with two other plaintiffs to challenge the constitutionality of the Thruway Authority’s toll system for commercial trucks... The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a District Court decision dismissing a suit filed by American Trucking Associations Inc., Phelps-based Wadhams Enterprises Inc., Modena-based Lightning Express Delivery Service and Ward Transport and Logistics Corp., of Rock Tavern...  In its Aug. 4 decision, the 2nd Circuit ruled that the U.S.A. District Court for the Southern District of New York abused its discretion when it dismissed the case because the plaintiffs did not name the state of New York as a party... The District Court must again hear a case whose plaintiffs argue that the Authority overcharges trucks for tolls in order to fund New York’s canal system, once a major transportation system for commercial shippers but now largely recreational... 
(Photo by Friscocali, CC - NY Thruway Toll Plaza)  --  NY, USA - The Times Herald-Record, by Leonard Sparks - Aug 14, 2015

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TRUCKERS' NEWS * USA: Automatic transmissions, unpopular with drivers

* Missouri - A trucker: "It’s difficult to control a slow roll with an automatic transmission ... "

(Video by Cory J. Draper: "How to shift automatic transmission in Semi Truck, Peterbilt, Freightliner, Kenworth, Volvo" - Aug 24, 2014)

 -- You might think that a heavy truck with an automatic transmission would make it easier to negotiate, but you would be wrong... On the tight course at the 2015 National Truck Driving Championships, a healthy majority of the 431 contestants in the skills contest at the championships are driving trucks with automatic transmissions, but many of them don’t like it. The six-problem course is tight, and unlike traveling the interstates, drivers are required to go very slow, stop and drift on a dime...  Many drivers have been complaining that it’s difficult to control a slow roll with an automatic transmission. That’s not been the case with the manual transmissions... ABF Freight System driver Ernest Wood, Vermont 4-axle class champion, said he drove an automatic at the competition last year. He agrees they can be tricky for drivers who aren’t used to them... But third-generation automatics are more predictable than earlier models, Mark Courter, equipment chairman of the competition, estimated that 65% of fleets are buying trucks with automated or automatic transmissions... 
St. Louis, MO, USA - Transport Topics, by Eric Miller - 24 Aug 2015

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INEXPERIENCED DRIVERS * USA: A risky business for truck fleets

* Wiscosin - Drivers with less CDL experience, could result in punitive damages against the trucking company


-- Many truck fleets today are motivated to put a driver in a seat to get the truck moving. This is something clients often ask us about, and may become more prevalent if federal law is changed to allow under-21 CDL holders to operate trucks on an Interstate basis... With the shortage of drivers, many companies are okay with (or becoming okay with) hiring drivers with little to no experience... This seems to make sense, but trucking companies hiring inexperienced drivers may be opening themselves up to more risk than it’s worth. When hiring someone this green, it is critical to consider the cost of hiring, training, and retaining this driver along with the possible negligent hiring suits you could be opening the door to should the driver be involved in a serious accident... Plaintiff’s attorneys know as much (if not sometimes more) than the average trucking company about proper hiring for drivers... In cases where a plaintiff attorney can prove to a jury that the trucking company didn’t hire drivers of acceptable competency, or that the federally mandated paperwork is incomplete, a suit for negligent hiring may result... In some cases, this results in punitive damages, which may or may not be covered by an insurance company. In some states, insurance companies are prohibited from paying punitive damages... This means that the trucking company is responsible for theses damages. Proceed with caution — the hiring of drivers who are unqualified due to inexperience, tickets, or accidents could jeopardize the future of your trucking company... 
Milwaukee, WIS, USA - Trucking News on Line, by Denise Banks - August 16, 2015

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TRAILER MAKERS * Australia: Haulmark Trailers

* Queensland - In for the long haul

-- For livestock trailer manufacturer Mark Johnston the challenge is two-fold: The first is building robust equipment that moves livestock as efficiently as possible; the second is ensuring the livestock and the driver arrive at their destination in the best possible condition... Those objectives are complicated by the four different loading systems adopted by the various states and territories across Australia... In Queensland volume loading and often rough roads mean the preference is for hard-wearing steel... In NSW, however, trailers must comply with axle mass. The result is that many of the trailers constructed for use primarily on NSW roads are manufactured with airbag suspension and lighter aluminium cladding... In Western Australia's pastoral zone, Haulmark is also delivering seven-deck AAB combination trailers to maximise the efficiency of the long-haul operations... Mr Johnston said Haulmark designs focused on building trailers that were quicker and simpler to load and unload and that avoided all forms of stress on both livestock and drivers... 200 people are employed by the company, which has its headquarters at Rocklea in Brisbane... 
(Photo: Livestock trailer manufacturer Mark Johnston shows off a Haulmark full walk-through triple unit manufactured at the Rocklea factory in Brisbane)  --  Brisbane, QLD, Australia - Queensland Country Life, by MARK PHELPS - 17 Aug, 2015

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TRUCKING INDUSTRY * South Africa - Sumtas Trucking's success story

* Johannesburg - Couple partnerships turns Durban’s trucking in a success company

-- Mss. Veena Singh and her husband took their first risk 15 years ago, when they decided that their jobs would never satisfy their aspirations... Today she coordinates a fleet of 34 horses and trailers, three Tautliner trailers and 44 flatbed trailers that carry loads along the country’s highways from Johannesburg to Durban .. The fact that he was a long-distance truck driver and she was an experienced retail administrator seemed good enough for them to cast their pensions and savings into an eight tonne truck to begin their own transport business... Added to a single customer, in the begining, who required oil, soap and bottles shuttled between Johannesburg and Port Shepstone, and a tempting three-year contract to the husband-and-wife team changed their lives for good. It was the support that saw the business grow into Sumtas Trucking, the major transport business it is today... According to Mss Singh, this was a time full of challenges... The stresses in trucking never let up and competition for loads is fierce, but a combination of professional assistance from a haulage broker and goodwill generated by word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied customers bring loads –and money – into the growing Sumtas yard... When asked about surviving in a sector that is being hit by the economic downturn, rising fuel prices and cut-throat margins, Mss Singh replies that keeping pace with changes is based on her business having a reputation as trustworthy and reliable... 
Floracliffe, Johannesburg, South Africa - 3D Car Show, by Gerald Ferreira - August 17th, 2015

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Aug 26, 2015

MILITARY TRUCKMAKERS NEWS * USA: Oshkosh wins $30 Billion Army contract battle to replace Humvee

* Wisconsin - The truck-maker has won the coveted megacontract to replace most of the Army’s iconic vehicles

-- Oshkosh won the Pentagon’s $30 billion sweepstakes to replace the U.S. Army’s Humvee with up to 55,000 new Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, or JLTVs, over the next 25 years, service officials said... The Army awarded a $6.7 billion contract Tuesday to Oshkosh for an initial batch of 17,000 vehicles for the Army and Marine Corps. Production will begin in the first quarter of fiscal 2016, according to an Army release, with a later decision on the full scale of production to come in 2018, the year the vehicles are expected to be ready for battle... 
Oshkosh, WIS, USA - Defense One Today, by Marcus Weisgerber, & Patrick Tucker - August 25, 2015

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TRUCKS RECALL * USA: Jeeps, Chrysler Fiat's ones

* DC - U.S. probes 408,000 Jeep SUVs for rollaway incidents

-- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said late Monday it is opening a preliminary investigation into 408,000 new Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs for complaints that the vehicles rolled away after being shifted into park... NHTSA said it has received 14 complaints, including five reports of crashes and three injuries. The investigation covers the 2014 and 2015 models that are equipped with an electronic gear selector or shift by wire system. The gear selection is made by pressing the shifter paddle forward or backward; the shifter does not move along a gate path as with conventional gear selectors... In another complaint filed in February, an owner in Morganton, North Carolina, said he was seriously injured when his 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee started moving after he parked it and the driver door struck him, knocking him to the ground “on my back.” ... In one complaint filed last month, a driver in Austin, Texas, said a Jeep Grand Cherokee crashed into a metal pole after the SUV had been shifted into park. Another driver in Grand Rapids said the process to put the vehicle in park was not safe... In a complaint filed in April 2014, an owner said his Jeep rolled 50 feet down and into a tree, causing $3,000 in damage. Fiat Chrysler conducted an inspection and found no problems. Another complaint came from a Bloomfield Hills owner in December who reported that the Jeep almost drove over his foot exiting; a Rochester Hills owner in June 2014 said he nearly hit another car when the SUV rolled, one of five separate incidents... Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV spokesman Eric Mayne said the automaker is cooperating... 
(Photo by Ross D. Franklin / AP: Jeep Grand Cherokee) -- Washington, DC, USA - The Detroit News, by David Shepardson - August 25, 2015

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TRUCKMAKERS NEWS WORLDWIDE * USA: Tap trucking growth in North America with PACCAR - ** India: 9 to 49 tons. green trucks - *** Brazil: Daimler cutting 1,500 trucks jobs

* Washington - What's driving growth?

-- PACCAR has struggled on the stock market so far this year. This looks surprising, as the company has performed consistently well over the past few quarters, and has beaten Wall Street's earnings estimates in each quarter over the past year. In fact, the company's stock price performance has not been as impressive as its revenue and margin growth... But, given the improvement in the North American truck market due to improving construction and industrial demand, it is likely that PACCAR's performance will continue improving... I'm saying this because PACCAR has a strong line-up of brands such as Kenworth, Peterbilt, and DFA... An extensive dealer network and product portfolio is driving PACCAR. The truckmaker has an extensive dealer network with nearly 2,000 locations in more than 100 countries, although half of the company's profit comes from sales within the U.S. As such, PACCAR has a stronger dealer network as compared to the likes of Volvo, which has only 650 outlets globally... Now, PACCAR has made good use of its strong product portfolio and dealership network. This is clearly reflected in its last-reported results, as PACCAR's revenue from the truck segment increased 15% year over year to $3.98 billion... Last quarter, truck sales for PACCAR in the U.S.A. & Canada increased 26.4%. Thus, PACCAR is making good use of the opportunity present in the truck market in the U.S.A. and Canada, and it should continue benefiting in the long run as sales of trucks in both these markets are anticipated to grow this year... 
(Photo: PACCARS' TRUCKS: DAF, Kenworth & Peterbilt ones)  --  Kirkland, WASH, USA - Investor Guide, by Yaggyaseni Mittra - Aug 24, 2015


* * Chennai / India - DICV’s BharatBenz 9- to 49-tonne trucks go BS IV


-- Daimler India Commercial Vehicles’ BharatBenz 9- to 49-tonne trucks have used BlueTec tech to meet BS IV emission norms... DICV has announced that its above 9- to 49-tonne trucks in the current portfolio will now be available as Bharat Stage IV variants across the country. With its new range of buses set for market launch in September 2015, DICV is also offering the Bharat Stage IV variant for school and staff applications in the front engine 9T bus product range... DICV says it will meet the BS IV norms using the system derived from Daimler’s BlueTec technology proven in many markets over a decade. DICV has tested this technology in Indian operating conditions for over a million kilometres before offering to customers. Apart from reducing toxic gas levels within the proposed Bharat Stage IV norms, the trucks and buses will also provide better fuel economy to customers, the company claims... 
 (Photo: DICV trucks range)   --  Perungudi, Chennai, India - Autocar Pro News - Aug 24, 2015


* * * Minas Gerais / Brazil - Daimler cutting 1,500 truck jobs as demand plunges


-- Daimler AG is eliminating 1,500 jobs at its Brazilian truckmaking division as demand for commercial vehicles in the country shows no sign of recovery. Workers at one of the plants affected went on strike in response, and the German company’s stock fell the most in almost four years. Cutting about 13 percent of its workforce in Brazil became inevitable after industrywide truck sales in South America’s largest economy plunged 44 percent in the first half of 2015, compounding a drop last year, said Florian Martens, a spokesman at Stuttgart-based Daimler...  Daimler’s reaction to Brazil’s shrinking economy, which is forecast to continue contracting until at least 2016, underscores the concerns sparking a deepening global stock selloff that has spread from emerging markets. Shares in the German manufacturer dropped as much as 7.1 percent in Frankfurt on Monday, the steepest intraday decline since November 2011... 
(Photo, by Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg: Truck And Bus productionaAt Daimler AG plant as automaker inaugurates bus plant)  --  Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, Brazil - Bloomberg, by Elisabeth Behrmann - August 24, 2015

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DRIVERLESS TRUCKS * USA

* Pennsylvania - Driverless ‘Crash Truck’ to debut at Florida highway construction sites

-- Royal Truck &  Equipment Inc. a driverless truck fitted with an energy-absorbing crash barrier to protect construction workers from oncoming traffic will be deployed as part of a pilot program in Florida, the Associated Press reported... The trucks, manufactured by Royal Truck & Equipment Inc. in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, are designed to function without drivers who are “literally waiting to be struck,” Royal President Robert Roy told AP... “Any time a driver can be removed from these vehicles in a very dangerous situation, and if the vehicle's struck, there's nobody inside of it to receive the damage or the injuries, that's measuring success,” Roy said... Two of the autonomous trucks will be used in Florida as part of a demonstration program under the state Department of Transportation... 
 (Photo: Royal Truck & Equipment headquarters, Coopersburg, Pennsylvania)  --  Coopersburg, PA, USA - Transport Topics - 25 Aug 2015

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TRUCKS INSPECTION * Australia: Vehicle maintenance issues

* Victoria - Smaller trucking companies on VICROADS radar

-- Companies with fleets of 15 to 25 vehicles are continually coming to VicRoads' attention during inspection campaigns... VicRoads is working harder to engage with small trucking firms on vehicle maintenance issues, as an increasing number of them are popping up on its radar during inspections... The department has a policy of forewarning companies about inspections and it is now intending to step up its activities... VicRoads director of regulatory services Eric Henderson says the department issues letters to owner-operators when it identifies potential maintenance issues, and gives them a period of time to present their trucks for inspection... The move is aimed at giving owners the chance to repair their trucks to a timeline, improve maintenance standards, and avoid penalties for defects... 
(Photo: VicRoads apologises for overcharging truck owners)  --  Melbourne, VIC, Australia - Fully Loaded, by Brad Gardner - 30 July 2015

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TRUCKERS' PAYMENT * USA: As peak season looms ... -- ** Australia: Minimum payment for contractor driver

* Tennessee / USA - Truckers ready new driver pay hikes


-- With freight tonnage increasing in July, and the fall peak shipping season looming, trucking companies are readying another round of truck driver pay increases. Freight demand may not be as strong as a year ago, but the need to secure drivers remains a key pressure point in discussions of truck capacity and truck pricing... Averitt Express last week joined the ranks of trucking companies raising driver wages. It would raise per mile pay for experienced drivers to between 44 and 45 cents per mile, depending on how many years they have on the road... Averitt didn’t say how big of a raise its new pay scale represents, but many carriers have been raising pay by double-digit percentages, led by Swift Transportation, the largest U.S. truckload carrier. Salaries, wages and benefits were up 16 percent at Swift in the second quarter... Many companies that raised pay last year and again in the first half of 2015 are looking at another round of increases. “A good driver, practically speaking, can make in the mid-$50,000s,” Mike Regan, founder and chief of relationship development at TranzAct Technologies, said in a recent interview. “That needs to be in the mid-$70,000s.” ... With the national unemployment rate falling toward 5 percent, hiring truck drivers may become much harder, putting more pressure on driver pay and shipper rates. Trucking companies still claim they cannot find an adequate number of qualified, experienced truck drivers... Year-over-year, trucking employment increased by 40,100 jobs in July, up 2.8 percent. In the first seven months of 2015, trucking employment has risen 2.9 percent on average... 
(Photo: Thanks to Averitt)  --  Cookeville, TN, USA - J.O.C., by William B. Cassidy - Aug 21, 2015


 * ACT / Australia - Draft RSRO issued on minimum payments for contract drivers

-- The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal today issued a draft road safety remuneration order (RSRO) on minimum payments for contractor drivers... The issuing of the draft Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 (draft Payments RSRO) follows extensive consultation with interested parties and the publication of independent research by KPMG on minimum payments for road transport contractor drivers... The draft Payments RSRO covers certain sectors of the road transport industry, specifically drivers involved in the distribution of goods destined for sale or hire by a supermarket chain or drivers involved in long distance operations in the private road transport industry... The clauses in the draft Payments RSRO impose requirements on employers or hirers of road transport drivers and participants in the supply chain... 
Canberra, Australia Capitol Territory - Big Rigs - 26th Aug 2015

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TRUCKS PARKING SOLUTIONS * USA: Study

* DC - DOT releases parking study, announces coalition to tackle long-standing problem

-- Noting that it was a “milestone borne out of terrible tragedy,” the U.S. Department of Transportation today released a long-awaited survey on the lack of safe parking for truck drivers and announced a national coalition of federal agencies, trucking and safety groups to find solutions... The tragedy they referred to was the death of trucker Jason Rivenburg, who was killed at an abandoned South Carolina gas station in March 2009 for the $7 in his pocket... Jason’s widow, Hope Rivenburg, on hand for the announcement in Washington, D.C., noted the “many killed before and since Jason due to lack of safe truck parking” ... Michael Boeglin, 30, was shot dead in his truck in Detroit in the early morning hours of June 26 last year. His truck was set on fire, presumably to cover up the crime. He was parked overnight some 200 yards away from the facility where he was supposed to drop off a load of steel later that morning... Another trucker, Truman Lee Smith, was shot more than three years ago during an apparent robbery while waiting to unload at a food warehouse in East St. Louis. He had 21 cents in his pockets when found... The state-by-state study on available parking was mandated in the “Jason’s Law” (named for Rivenburg) part of MAP-21 legislation... According to a DOT news release, over the coming months, the DOT and the National Coalition on Truck Parking “will engage in a dialogue with state and local governments, law enforcement and the trucking and business communities to work together to advance truck parking solutions to meet the needs of the nation’s truck drivers” ... 
(Photo: Trucks, parking lot in Arizona)  --  Washington, DC, USA - The Trucker, by DOROTHY COX - 21 Aug 2015

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TRUCKING INDUSTRY * USA: FedEx Corp. and TNT N.V., the acquisition

* Tennessee - FedEx to start tender offer for TNT


-- FedEx Corp. and TNT N.V. said the U.S. company would begin a tender offer for the Dutch package and freight carrier’s shares on Aug. 24 to advance their planned $4.8 billion merger... The plan calls for FedEx, which intends to expand its global capability through the acquisition, to spend 8 euros (about $9) per share for TNT was announced on April 7... The European Commission is reviewing competitive ramifications of the proposal, which could vault FedEx into a virtual tie with UPS Inc. as the largest U.S.-based freight companies by revenue, each with nearly $60 billion in annual sales... After completion, the combined market share of FedEx and TNT’s package business in Europe would be similar to rival package carriers UPS and DHL, based on an industry analysis... 
Memphis, TENN, USA - Transport Topics - 21 Aug 2015

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Aug 25, 2015

TRUCKS MARKET * India: Commercial vehicle makers push second-hand sales through retail outlets

* New Delhi - Inspired by zooming sales of pre-owned cars, CV makers also want slice of meaty second-hand pie

-- The successful run of company-owned channels to retail pre-owned cars has now led commercial vehicle manufacturers to also give a push to such sales. The country’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturers, Tata Motors and VE Commercial Vehicles (a joint venture between the Volvo Group and Eicher Motors), have reinforced their thrust into retailing pre-owned commercial vehicles through their respective outfits... The basic idea behind scaling this stream is to cut into the market of the unorganised sector, which dominates such sales, and connect with the customer base, which helps in sales of new vehicles. Also, during slowdowns, when sales take a hit, second-hand sales come in handy... Tata Motors has separate showrooms for selling used vehicles, while at some places the dealers showcase pre-owned vehicles at the same location... Though no detailed data for the used trucks market is currently available, analysts expect the market to grow with the entry of major players... In the April-July period, the segment has seen a robust growth of 24.86% in domestic sales. In July itself, the growth has been 29.49%... 
Mumbai/ New Delhi, India - The Financial Express, by Malyaban Ghosh and Shaikh Zoaib Saleem - August 23, 2015


* New Delhi - A quick insight into the Indian trucking industry

-- As per ICRA report, the Medium & Heavy Commercial Vehicle (M&HCV) Truck segment posted a positive growth of 19.0% in 10m FY 2015. 

 ° The HCV (16T+) segment accounted for almost half of total M&HCV (Truck) sales and witnessed strong demand (up 42.6% in 10m FY 2015). 

 ° The LCV Truck segment experienced sluggish trends (down 13.8% YoY) due to constrained financing environment. 

 ° Fleet utilization levels are gradually improving on back of higher load availability from some of the key freight generating sectors such as Automobiles, Cement and other general industries. 

 ° In ICRA’s view, the M&HCV (Truck) segment is likely to register a growth of 12-14% in FY 2016 while demand for LCV’s will grow at CAGR (%) 11-13% over the longer-term. 

 ... The key factors driving this growth are continuing trend towards replacement of ageing fleet and expectations of pick-up in demand from infrastructure and industrial sectors in view of reforms being initiated by the Government... As Ishu said, “The share of road transport is bound to grow in the upcoming years with 8.4% for 2012". The total good vehicles amount to 76.6 lakh making close to 700 Mn trips in India... 
(Photo - Various facilities are to be provided at the truck terminal of CMDA in Madhavaram)  --    Mumbai/ New Delhi, India - The Financial Express, by Malyaban Ghosh and Shaikh Zoaib Saleem - August 23, 2015

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TRUCKERS' SHORTAGE * USA: Big rigs get the comforts of home

* Ohio - To help truckers to close driver gap

-- With their kids out of the house, empty-nesters Dan and Cristy Dornbusch cruise U.S. highways with an array of domestic comforts -- TV, microwave convection oven, running water -- in their vehicle... They’re not just savoring the scenery: The Dornbusch duo operates a Freightliner M2 truck lugging loads of metal casting parts as a driving team for closely held Try Hours Inc... Try Hours is part of a growing wave of truckers customizing their cabs to blunt a driver shortage that consultant FTR Associates Inc. sees approaching 400,000 by the end of 2017. These companies are investing in entertainment systems, ceiling fans and refrigerator/freezers to ease the strain on employees who are on the road for three or four weeks at a time... A custom cab typically costs about $45,000 -- a price that can double when a shower and toilet are included... The rub for truckers: Showers and satellite TV can only go so far in ensuring that their tractors stay on the highway... Try Hours has customized sleeper cabs on most of its trucks -- extras that can boost the cost of a new truck by about $50,000 to $185,000, said Lemley, the fleet manager. He is now adding entertainment systems, because it’s more costly for Try Hours to have to idle a truck for a month for lack of a driver... 
(Photo Source: Linda Caffee via Bloomberg - Linda and Bob Caffee's custom-built truck cab)  --  Maumee, OH, USA - Bloomberg, by Lauren Thomas and Thomas Black - August 21, 2015

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TRUCKMAKERS NEWS USA: * Kenworth's - ** Volvo's

* Washington - Kenworth rolls out new features on T680, T880 models
-- Kenworth Truck Co. announced new fuel-efficiency features on its T680 and T880 models, including predictive cruise control and a virtual tool to coach and assist drivers... New features also include a visual cue to help drivers shift and a driver-reward method that can lead to increased cruise speed... The announcement also mentioned two new battery-related technologies, one to protect against weather-related drainage and the other an AC inverter for high-amp loads... Kenworth said its ultracapacitor-based Maxwell engine start module provides dedicated start power and is a factory-installed option for T680 and T880 models, plus its dealers offer the module as an aftermarket solution, too... The engine start module is designed to start an engine in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit to a high of 149 degrees Fahrenheit, even when the batteries have low voltage... The other new device, an 1,800-watt inverter, provides AC power in the sleeper instead of DC power to operate appliances, entertainment systems and other devices. The inverter is an option on the T680 76-inch sleeper... Kenworth added that the inverter also can charge the starter and idle management system batteries when plugged into shore power... 
(Photo: A Kenworth T880 model)  --  Kirkland, WASH, USA - Transport Topics, by Roger W. Gilroy - 21 Aug 2015 


** Idaho - Volvo boosts fuel economy by the power of two

-- The 6x2 concept has taken a new twist, and Volvo Trucks is the first North American truck maker to offer such a configuration. Volvo calls the concept Adaptive Loading. It's a 6x2 arrangement but with a pusher axle rather than a tag, and the pusher axle is liftable, turning the tractor into a 4x2 set up for lightly loaded or empty conditions...  Adaptive Loading begins with an electronically controlled tractor air suspension that senses vehicle weight via the air pressure in the suspension. When the truck is empty or just lightly loaded, the system lifts the (forward) pusher axle, letting the (rear) drive axle bear the weight... When the truck is loaded and the liftable axle is down, the system will automatically bias the suspension pressure toward the driving axle for better traction. Under normal conditions, the rear axle might run 5 psi higher pressure than the pusher axle...
 (Photo by Jim Park - When there's no work to do, an unladen axle is just fuel-sucking dead weight. Volvo gets it up and out of the way when it's not needed)  --  Heyburn, IDH, USA - Truckinginfo, by Jim Park - August 23, 2015

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Aug 24, 2015

TRUCKING INDUSTRY * India - A new platform for

* Haryana - TruckSuvidha is trying to crack the $130 Billion Indian trucking industry


... Amit Punaini and Ishu Bansal came forward with their B2B portal TruckSuvidha in September last year. The startup is based in Yamuna Nagar, Haryana. The main idea is to bridge the gap between the customer, transporter and other related entities, thereby helping the logistics industry meet the required demand-supply ratio, by bringing all the key players on a single common platform... The founders believe that despite of having 4.7% contribution to country’s GDP, the logistics industry is still not able to give its due share. The problem lies in the existing system where there is a lack of information amid the users... Apart from online truck bookings, the portal provides registered customers with three unique features to address current problems: 

- A Distance Calculator – Feed in the origin of the journey with destination and it will give you the most optimum route for the journey with an information of tolls on road. This helps drivers in optimize their journeys and get more deliveries in a single day. 
- A Load Board – It keeps a track of all the loads on TruckSuvidha be it posted by a transporter or customer. 
- A Truck Board – It keeps a track of all the available trucks for customer to view. 

 ... At present, TruckSuvidha Network covers around 632 locations all over India including states such as Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Assam and more. The portal gets around 100-120 posts daily and provides availability of different kinds of heavy commercial vehicles with clients like Ambuja Cement, Jindal Steel, Agarwal packers and movers, etc. As listed on the website, they have total 3871 registered customers, 23232 transporters and 1532 movers and packers... The founders also run a full time call center which caters to doubts and concerns pertaining to TruckSuvidha and in general issues related to the transportation industry...
(Image: Trucking Startups in the Indian market)  --  Yamuna Nagar, Haryana, India - Inc 42 Magazine, by Meha Agarwal - August 20, 2015

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OPINION * USA: The trucks are killing us

* New York - More people will be killed in traffic accidents involving large trucks this year than have died in all of the domestic commercial airline crashes over the past 45 years


-- Accidents like the one that critically injured the comedian Tracy Morgan, killed his friend and fellow comedian James McNair, and hurt eight others on the New Jersey Turnpike last year are going to continue to happen unless Congress stops coddling the trucking industry. And still Congress continues to do the trucking industry’s bidding by frustrating the very regulators the government has empowered to oversee motor carriers... In recent months, Congress has pursued a number of steps to roll back safety improvements ordered by federal regulators... All of these concessions to the trucking industry have gained traction in Congress even though the industry has consistently resisted safety improvements. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the annual cost to the economy of truck and bus crashes to be $99 billion... The crash involving Tracy Morgan shows why Congress needs to toughen its oversight of trucking, not loosen it. The driver who caused the crash was in a modern 18-wheeler that was well maintained and managed, owned and operated by Walmart. As detailed in the causation report on the crash released earlier this month, the National Transportation Safety Board found that the driver had been on duty for about 13 and a half hours; federal rules allow a 14-hour workday. About a mile before the crash, the driver ignored work-zone warning signs on the New Jersey Turnpike of likely delays ahead. About a half-mile later, the posted speed limit dropped to 45 m.p.h. from the usual 65, which the driver also ignored... Mr. Morgan’s Mercedes van was moving at less than 10 mu.p.h. because of the construction. The truck driver, fatigued and slow to react, according to the N.T.S.B., was unable to stop in time, and slammed into the van, turning it on its side and jamming the passenger door closed. According to the board, if the driver had slowed to 45 when warned to do so, he should have been able to stop before crashing. But before his official work day began, the driver, the board found, had spent 12 hours driving his own vehicle from his home in Georgia to pick up his truck at a Walmart facility in Delaware, and had been awake for 28 consecutive hours at the time of the crash... The trucking industry is vital to the nation’s economic well-being — it carried almost 69 percent of all domestic freight last year — and its executives have done an excellent job in keeping costs down. But Congress must make it clear to all parties that safety has to be a higher priority than penny-pinching... Congress must pass a comprehensive highway funding bill and ensure that safety regulators have sufficient resources and political support to do what must be done in order to reduce the continuing carnage on our highways... 
 (Photo Credit, by Harry Campbell) -- NY, USA - The NYT, by HOWARD ABRAMSON - Aug. 21, 2015


* REPLY: Note to disgruntled former trucking editors: Trucks are not killing us

-- Over the weekend, an op-ed piece titled The Trucks are Killing Us appeared in The New York Times. The piece was written by Howard Abramson, a past executive at the American Trucking Association (ATA) whose primary duty was to act as editor of Transport Topics magazine... The idea that trucking today is an under-regulated, out-of-control industry hell-bent on delivering goods — cost and civilians be damned — is so out of date as to be laughable. It was a fair bit of criticism back when you could buy a black Trans Am to run interference while your buddy ran a load of Coors beer from Texarkana to Atlanta. Not so much today... Trucking is, in fact, in the middle of the greatest wave of new regulations and mandated safety devices that this industry has ever seen. This very week, in fact, we’re expecting a new mandate on speed limiters. Likewise, new rules to mandate electronic logging devices is expected in the coming weeks. And numerous other proposals are also being looked at, including mandatory lane-departure warning systems, tire-pressure management systems and collision avoidance systems, to name a few... The bottom line here is this: Trucking is getting safer all the time. And that trend is accelerating rapidly. It’s getting harder every day to skirt the rules. Bad actors are leaving this industry because they know that soon, they’re going to have to follow the exact same rules as everyone else. They’ll have no choice in the matter... Everyone I know and talk to in this industry is passionately and whole-heartedly dedicated to making trucking safer and more efficient every single day they’re on the job. This industry has made huge gains in terms of safety. And even more giant leaps are coming. To suggest otherwise is irresponsible and hypocritical, especially coming from someone who drew a nice paycheck from the trucking industry for 16 years... 
NY, USA - CCJ Digital, by Jack Roberts - August 24, 2015

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DANGEROUS TRUCKERS * USA: Truck trailer on fire - & ** Canada: Truck driver accused in Bedford boy's death

* Missouri / USA - Sleeping trucker experience close call


-- A truck driver resting at Love’s Truck Stop was woken up by another driver Thursday night who told him his trailer was on fire... The St. Joseph Fire Department responded to Love’s Truck Stop, after reports of a vehicle fire. When firefighters arrived around 6 p.m., the truck and trailer — which was hauling processed beef — were engulfed... The tractor had 180 gallons of diesel fuel on board, said Battalion Chief Paris Jenkins. The tralier burned and the center part collapsed onto the ground... The truck’s driver said he was sleeping when the fire broke out. Another driver woke him to tell him about smoke coming from the trailer, he said, adding that the other driver saved his life... 
(Photo by Dave Hon | St. Joseph News-Press - St. Joseph Fire Department firefighters observe the destruction of a tractor-trailer that caught fire in the Love’s Truck Stop parking lot) -- St. Joseph,MISS, USA - St. Joseph News-Press, by Dave Hon - Aug 21, 2015


* Nova Scotia / Canada - Child dies after Highway 101 crash - Trouble with brakes

-- Evan Servaes, 6, was severely injured in crash and later died... The trial of a Montreal trucker involved in an accident that took the life of a six-year-old boy on Nova Scotia's Highway 101 two years ago heard from two vehicle safety inspectors on Friday... The crash happened in July 2013 when a minivan and a motor home towing a car stopped for construction near Windsor, N.S. ... RCMP say the tractor-trailer smashed into them from behind. At the time, police said speed was a factor in the crash... The trucker, Mohammad Younus, was charged with dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm... Kenneth MacDonald, a commercial vehicle safety inspector,  says the problem could have been caused during the crash if the driver applied too much force... Jeffrey Dillman, a mechanic and Nova Scotia vehicle compliance officer, also inspected the truck. He told the Crown that the lack of brakes on the steering axle would lead to less braking ability... It would take a greater distance to stop, he said, and vehicles with reduced braking ability shouldn't be driven... After today, the trial will stop until Sept. 14 to accommodate a Crown witness... 
(Photo by Shaina Luck/CBC - The boy was in a minivan that was pushed into a vehicle being towed by the motor home) -- Bedford, NS, Canada - CBC News, by Shaina Luck - Aug 21, 2015

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TRUCKS PARKING SHORTAGE * USA: A trucking trouble

* DC - Study: Finds shortage of truck parking a ‘Safety Concern’


-- Parking shortages that could cause truck drivers to continue driving while tired or to stop and spend the night on road shoulders and exit ramps “are a national safety concern,” according to a study the Federal Highway Administration is expected to release on Friday... “Ideally each driver requiring rest should be able to access a safe, clean, full service parking space to obtain long-term rest whenever the need for long-term parking arises,” the 119-page study says. “In reality, there is often a mismatch between driver demand…[and] the availability of an adequate parking space at that point and time” ... The FHA’s survey is the latest and most comprehensive attempt to tackle the problem... More than 75% of the truck drivers surveyed in the study and nearly 66% of logistics personnel reported they regularly had trouble finding safe parking when it was time to rest. Ninety percent reported “struggling to find safe and available parking” at night... The study reveals why the problem is so intractable. There is no single entity—not federal or state governments, not trucking companies or shippers—responsible for truck parking facilities. Moreover, the vast majority of truck parking—88% of the 309,000 spaces documented in the study—is at private truck stops, not in public rest areas... But truck-stop operators reported challenges with expanding their parking. They need to account for customer demand and real-estate costs, and they also frequently run into zoning and environmental laws. Many communities don’t want more trucks stopping nearby for the night... Lisa Mullings, chief executive of the National Association of Truck Stop Operators, says she hopes the study will encourage better planning by truck fleets... 
(Photo by Kyle Granthan/The WSJ: When drivers were asked to identify problem parking regions, the mid-Atlantic area ranked first)   --  Washington, DC, USA - The WSJ, by BETSY MORRIS - Aug. 21, 2015

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CARGO FEES * USA: Oakland Port proposes they to fight congestion

* California - The Port of Oakland, wants to charge to move containers during peak hours 

-- Terminal operators at the Port of Oakland plan to start charging cargo owners to move containers during peak times in an attempt to alleviate congestion... The proposal, which federal regulators are currently evaluating, is facing criticism from large retailers, farmers and other companies that rely on the port for imports and exports and could end up paying millions of dollars to move cargo. Port officials say the fees are necessary to reduce traffic during the busiest periods and to pay for new Saturday service at container terminals... Few major U.S. ports operate on weekends or charge fees to move containers during peak hours. But experts say more could follow Oakland’s lead as cargo volumes grow and capacity is strained by bigger ships and rising imports. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation’s busiest, added evening and weekend hours in 2005 and introduced fees to fight congestion and reduce emissions from idling trucks... Retailers and other large importers and exporters say they’re concerned about the plan...
(Photo: Bloomberg News - The Port of Oakland plans to charge fees to move containers during peak hours)  --  Oakland, CAL, USA - Bloomberg/The WSJ, by ERICA E. PHILLIPS - August 20, 2015

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Aug 22, 2015

LAWSUIT AGAINST TRUCKMAKER VOLVO * USA: Suit argues burned truck's OEMs should've known about alleged defects, risks

* Pennsylvania - Manufacturers dispute claims in Kane Is Able truck fire lawsuit


-- A little over one year after purchasing seven new Volvo compressed natural gas tractors, Kane filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania... 

Kane's alleged cause

Kane Is Able claims a group of compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered Volvo VNL tractors it purchased last year are defective and unsafe, leading one of them to catch on fire and explode back in January. With the cause of the fire still unresolved, Kane has sued Volvo and the trucks' engine and fuel system makers...

"Found no support"


 Volvo Trucks tells: "After extensive investigation, we were unable to identify any defect in the design, materials, or manufacturing in any of the components installed by Volvo. Our testing found no support for the cause of the fire suggested by Kane... "

Further allegations

Kane's and the OEMs' positions illustrate a clear difference of opinion — and an impasse. Kane  contends the fire was due to no user or maintenance fault, and states it refuses to operate any of the remaining six CNG Volvos "until the cause of the fire ha[s] been identified and/or until Volvo certifie[s] that the problem ha[s] been addressed and the vehicles could be operated safely" ... "To date, Volvo has failed to satisfactorily warrant the safety of these remaining tractors," the lawsuit asserts... The lawsuit also alleges activities by Cummins Westport technicians that it contends may warrant punitive damages. "Cummins [Westport] technicians at the request of Volvo and/or Agility entered Kane's premises and tested and/or altered sensors in the exhaust system of the remaining CNG units," the lawsuit states... Later, the suit again references this technician visit, providing further detail and claiming at least part of the purpose was to spoliate — i.e., despoil — evidence. Technicians "entered Kane's premises and recalibrated, tested, altered and/or modified sensors found in the undamaged CNG trucks"... In its statement, Volvo Trucks makes a contrary recommendation: "Safety is a core value for Volvo, and we worked closely with our supplier partners to thoroughly examine the vehicles Kane decided to park — this investigation convinced us that the vehicles should be returned to service," the company states...
(Image)  --  Scranton, PENN, USA - Fleet Owner, by Aaron Marsh - Aug 20, 2015

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