User-agent: Mediapartners-Google* Disallow: Trucks World News: December 2007
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2007-12-22

* UK - Steam Trucks

Yorkshire, 1905

Loud, Obnoxious, Steam-powered Geek-Dreams on Wheels

Dark Roasted Blend, by Avi Abrams -December 21, 2007: -- Not always detailed in brass, but nearly always surrounded by clouds of noxious steam (which adds to the mystery), these Victorian monster transports could seat many passengers in (dubious) style - but more importantly, they were not confined to rails and could go anywhere...

Sentinel Super Waggon, 1924

... Today, you can rent them for your next romantic outing, but don't forget to supply your date with good goggles...

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HOS * UK - Police crackdown on reckless lorry drivers

Lorry drivers flouting rest break laws were targeted in a two-day operation

Talybont,Bangor,Wales,UK -The Daily Post, by Steve Bagnall -Dec 22, 2007: -- Operation Carrier saw 35 HGVs stopped by officers during Tuesday and Wednesday evenings this week on the A55 near Talybont, Bangor... Four drivers were served with 24-hour prohibitions for failing to take weekly rest and/or failing to produce tachograph charts... Fifteen drivers were served with nine-hour prohibitions for failing to take a daily rest... One lorry driver was ordered to take a 45-minute rest break prohibition. Eight cautions were issued for minor infringements... The focus of the operation was checking the mechanical condition of lorries and also to ensure the drivers had taken sufficient rest periods... Inspector Pete Nicholson added: “It is always a concern when we find drivers who have not taken appropriate rest breaks... “They are not only putting themselves at risk, but also other road users”...

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Trucking stocks * USA - Flattened by economy, excess capacity

tries to reverse declineIndianapolis,IN,USA -The Indianapolis Business Journal, by Chris O’Malley -December 22, 2007: -- In just over one quarter, shares of Celadon Group lost nearly half their value as profitable cargo got harder to find in a slowing economy. The stock closed at $9.13 on Dec. 19, down from nearly $17 in late August. The stock is down nearly two-thirds from its peak of $22.41 in July 2006, before the industry slump. Celadon isn’t alone: Yellow Freight parent YRC Worldwide, for example, has also been hammered on Wall Street. YRC now trades around $17.50, a steep decline from its 52-week high of $47...“At these very low valuations for the company, at what point do you entertain the thought of taking the company private?” Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Bruce Olipha asked Celadon’s chairman, Steve Russell, during a recent earnings call. “It’s difficult to answer that question,” replied Russell, mindful that four years ago the stock had tanked below $4 and later grew sixfold. “Let’s see what happens in the months ahead.” Celadon founder Russell, for now, is seeing what his new president—former General Electric trailer leasing executive Chris Hines—can do to put more stuff aboard Celadon’s trucks. Hines, who came aboard in August, didn’t waste any time. In October, he switched Celadon’s 30-person sales force from salaried- to incentive-based compensation... Russell, for one, thinks the company is better positioned to withstand a downturn than it was in 2003, when Celadon’s stock was trading at half of its now-languishing price. Since then, Celadon has improved its systems, technology and footprint... This year, it was named best fleet in America by Fleet Owner magazine. “We’re a much better company than we were then,” Russell said...

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Trucking Group * USA - Steers Cash to Lobbyist

Washington,DC,USA -Associated Press/The Houston Chronicle (Houston,TX) -Dec. 21, 2007: -- The American Trucking Associations hired Chapman Capitol Consulting Inc. to lobby the federal government on transportation-related issues, according to a disclosure form... The firm will lobby on Transportation and Homeland Security appropriations, safety and highway funding, according to the form posted online Nov. 28 by the Senate's public records office... The group's members include United Parcel Service Inc. and Knight Transportation Inc...

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TRUCKMAKERS' NEWS * WORLDWIDE

* India - Tata Motors to launch 30 new CV models

Mumbai,India -sify.com/finance -22 December , 2007: -- Tata Motors said it will launch 30 new models in the commercial vehicle segment in the current financial year... Tata launched seven medium and heavy trucks in Pune on Thursday. The company will launch four more in the financial year 2008. The new vehicles include a 49-tonne tractor trailer, a 49-tonne Novus tractor and a 31-tonne truck with lift-axle. All vehicles comply with the BS II emission norms. The new 49-tonne tractor on Novus platform comes with an AC cabin, radial tyres and a power capacity of 295.8 HP and is priced Rs 33 lakh... (Picture: Tata's NOVUS 6X4 TRACTOR)


* India - No joint badging for Eicher-Volvo
Mumbai,India -sify.com/finance, by Rabin Ghosh -22 December , 2007: -- Eicher Motors’ proposed commercial vehicle (CV) joint venture (JV) company, in which Sweden’s Volvo will have a 50 per cent interest, will not see any joint badging of products, a senior company official said on Friday... Future launches, which include manufacturing of Volvo trucks in India, will happen out of the yet-unnamed JV... Volvo India’s Bangalore unit, which is not part of the JV, has virtually stopped manufacturing trucks and has confined itself to top-end luxury buses... Hence, Volvo’s $45 billion truck ambitions in India will need to be realised by the JV...


* Daimler Trucks: nobody casts CGI better
Germany -Automotive World (UK), by John Mortimer -21 December, 2007: -- Daimler's trucks division has claimed that its foundry in Mannheim, Germany, is more efficient at casting compacted graphite iron products than any other facility in the world...


* USA - Comment: The New NGM Chassis
USA -forums.firehouse.com, by firefish63 -21 Dec 2007: -- A sure way to sell more engines......for IH/Navistar. Not only is their extreme re-positioning and re-alligning in the firetruck business, it is in every business. There will be pretty significant chanegs this upcoming year in the fire business without exception.....!!! For those ready to buy....think hard, ask alot and make sound decisions to stable companies....be it a small family brand or more importantly...watch the big guys....there is much unrest. But anyways....thought I would pass along the GM and Navistar announcement...

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Low-Clearance Signs ? * USA - Not Enough For Some Truck Drivers

Springfield,MA,USA -WSHM/TV, by Miranda Grossman -Dec 21, 2007: -- It was a tight squeeze Thursday night in Westfield, in fact too tight. That's why a tractor trailer loaded with ice cream was crunched between North Elm Street and the train trestle above... The eleven and a half foot clearance sign warns truck drivers, but the trucker kept on trucking. Leaving Westfield in gridlock... The train trestle is part of the $60 million Great River Bridge project which includes construction of a second bridge, rebuilding the existing span and raising the trestle. But miles of railroad track on both sides of the bridge first have to be rebuilt... Most truck drivers follow the signs to the roomier underpass on Union Street, but too often there are those that miss the warning... (VIDEO. It was a tight squeeze Thursday night in Westfield, in fact too tight. That's why a tractor trailer loaded with ice cream was crunched between North Elm Street and the train trestle above)

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HOS DEBATE * USA - Congress pushing for less driving time for truckers

The typical work day is eight hours, but for most truck drivers it is longer. Drivers can have their big rigs on the road for 11 hours straight before they're required by law to stop for the day.

Boise,Idaho,USA -KTVB - December 20, 2007: -- Lawmakers are worried about tired truckers and want to shorten the hours they can drive... Last year, the Bush Administration changed truckers allotted driving hours from 10 to 11... Now, many members of Congress want to change it back. They claim 11 hours is too long, and pushes drivers to their limit... Four-thousand trucks travel through the Treasure Valley every day, many of them from out-of-state that are anxiously trying to drop off their loads so they can get back home... There are incentives to make miles quickly, but some lawmakers say that's dangerous... The truck drivers we talked to say they are responsible at the wheel and know their limits... (SEE VIDEO)


* Sleeping Truck Drivers Cause Accidents
USA -Johnny Brunson.com -December 21st, 2007: -- Last week the Center for Disease Control (CDC) celebrated Drowsy Driver Prevention Week. Interestingly, in a poll conducted as part of their education campaign, 47 percent of commercial truck drivers admitted to having fallen asleep while driving a truck during some point in their career... In a study conducted of the sleep patterns of long haul truck drivers and printed in the New England Journal of Medicine, drivers obtained between 4 and 5 hours of verifiable sleep during the course of driving ten-hour days in a five-day period. Most people need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Thus, fatigue and sleep deprivation constitute significant safety issues for long haul truck drivers... Truck driver fatigue is the subject of new U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. Tractor-trailer truck drivers may only drive for eleven hours after ten hours off. The National Transportation Safety Board states that driver fatigue may account for one third of all large (semi, tractor-trailer) truck accidents. Further, driver fatigue was the likely cause in thirty percent of all fatal crashes... Accidents involving sleeping drivers – and worse sleeping truck drivers – often yield tragic consequences. Sleeping drivers usually maintain their speed; thus, not braking or turning to avoid the accident.

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FUEL COSTS * USA - Increase in Diesel Prices Affect Truck Drivers

Huntington,WV,USA -WSAZ/TV, by Michael Wooten -Dec 21, 2007: -- In some places gas prices are down 50 to 75 cents a gallon from the all-time high, giving people a few extra dollars in their pockets for Christmas. That’s for those who use gas and not diesel to fill their tanks... However, pumped up prices is the rough reality for truckers as diesel prices hit record highs... Until a few years ago, that was true, but not any more. Thanks to higher demand, a transition to low-sulfur fuel and slightly higher taxes, diesel now costs more... Prices are even higher in the winter due to rising demand for heating oil, which is refined in much the same way as diesel... Diesel prices vary widely in our region. Kentucky's average is $3.30 a gallon. In Ohio it costs 15 cents more on the gallon and in West Virginia prepare to pay $3.52 a gallon. Only about a dozen states have higher averages... David Grier, a truck driver, doesn't see any relief in his rear-view mirror... This affects more than just truck drivers... Millions of cars, lights trucks and SUV’s also use diesel, and those drivers are hit especially hard... The forecast isn't promising for diesel drivers. Prices are expected to slightly increase throughout the next few months... (SEE VIDEO)

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Truck Hijacking * USA - Comes to Little When Robbers Can’t Get the Cargo Out

New York,NY,USA -The New York Times, by AL BAKER -December 22, 2007: -- It began as a brazen robbery and kidnapping in Hells Kitchen on the West Side, as men with guns and a phony police badge hijacked a FedEx tractor-trailer loaded with holiday gifts... It ended hours later in Brooklyn as just another bungled crime when the would-be robbers were unable to figure out how to remove the metal cargo containers, filled with merchandise, locked up in the back of the truck, the police said Friday... The episode unraveled little by little over seven hours, the police said. In the end, the truck driver was unharmed and none of the cargo appeared to be missing, officials said — not even the jewelry and other valuables...

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RECALLS * USA - GM recalls 313,000 for fluid leak

Washington,DC,USA -Associated Press/The Detroit News, by Ken Thomas -December 22, 2007: -- General Motors Corp. said Friday it was recalling about 313,000 passenger cars and crossover vehicles to fix a fluid leak that could lead to the driver losing control of the vehicle... GM said the seal on the rear axle pinion, which provides power to the wheels, does not meet all specifications and could leak fluid. GM spokeswoman Carolyn Markey said the leak could lead to the drivewheel jamming up and locking while the vehicle is being driven, possibly causing the driver to lose control...

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HOT lanes * USA - Foreign firm to build and operate they on Capital Beltway

A company with roots in Australia will control 90 percent of the design, finance, construction and operation of high-occupancy toll lanes on the Capital Beltway in Washington, DC, and Virginia

Washington,DC,USA -Land Line Magazine -December 21, 2007: -- ... Transurban, an Australian firm that finances and operates the Pocahontas Parkway in Richmond, VA, and Texas-based Fluor Enterprises have landed a contract to expand 14 miles of the Beltway from eight lanes to 12 lanes. The expansion will be between the Springfield Interchange and Tyson’s Corners... U.S. Department of Transportation officials said once construction is finished, the two existing middle lanes will be converted to HOT lanes with fluctuating tolls based on traffic volume... Car poolers, buses and emergency vehicles will not pay tolls to use the HOT lanes. However, individual drivers, including truckers, will be able to pay tolls to get out of the regular lanes and use the less-congested HOT lanes... The Capital Beltway is owned by the Virginia Department of Transportation, but Transurban will operate the HOT lanes for 75 years and use toll revenue to pay off the loan and bonds...

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2007-12-21

Cargo Fee * USA - Long Beach port approves $35-$70

Port authorities approved a controversial container fee Monday expected to generate $1.6 billion to subsidize the purchase of cleaner trucks working in the nation's largest seaport


Long Beach,CAL,USA -The Press Telegram, by Kristopher Hanson -17 Dec 2007: -- ... The fee, approved unanimously by the Port of Long Beach Harbor Commission, will be tacked onto every loaded container leaving or entering waterfront marine terminals by truck beginning June 1 and ending in 2012... Under the plan, each 20-foot long container will be levied $35 each time it enters or exits a terminal. Forty-foot containers will be charged $70...(Video YouTube, by danieljbmitchell -August 15, 2007: "Port Homeland Security in Los Angeles - Part One " - The combined ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the largest such complex in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world. As such, the ports are a potential terrorist target. This video suggests underfunding and inadequate attention to homeland security at the ports. It also notes the proliferation of agencies involved in security and the need for coordination)

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BORDER TROUBLES * Finland/Russia - Line of vehicles waiting at border extends 42 km

The lines of vehicles are 42 kilometres long at the Hamina-Vaalimaa section and 23 kilometres in the direction of Nuijamaa.


Helsinki,Finland -Itar/Tass -December 21, 2007: -- Kilometres-long lines are formed at the Russian-Finnish border. There are lines in the direction of Imatra as well... Finns fear that accumulations of trucks may reach the third ring road around Helsinki and Vantaa in the capital's suburbs... Parking grounds near all the border stations are packed... The government also studies possibilities to impose payment for Russian cargo transporters for the use of roads. There is no decision yet on a form of payment. Finnish politicians believe, since transport bound for Russia accounts for 90-95 percent of the traffic, Russian companies may participate in the Finnish road infrastructure development... Prime Minister (Finland) Matti Vanhanen connects the problem of long lines at the border first of all with the growth of bilateral trade volumes. Over a few years, the number of cargo trucks at the border doubled to nearly one million units, he noted... Russia takes measures to increase the staff of customers and use electronic declaration technologies at the customs to considerably shorten the customs procedures time... (Video from YouTube, by NiclasM4S -May 28, 2007: -- "Russian Trucks Techno " A 30 km (at least) line with russian trucks waiting for cross the border to Russia. How many? Maybe 1000 of them. On the clip is just maximum 5% of them all. Music is from Basshunter)

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HOS DEBATE * USA - Lawsuit seeks to limit truckers' hours

Safety advocates went to federal court Thursday asking judges to block a Transportation Department rule on work hours for truckers

Washington,DC,USA -CNN, by Paul Courson -20 Dec 2007: -- The controversy dates to 2003, when the Bush administration increased from 10 to 11 hours the limit a commercial trucker may drive without a mandatory break within a 14 hour period... Opponents, citing the risk of driver fatigue, twice persuaded a federal court to reject implementation of the extended hours... Despite those setbacks, the Transportation Department's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has put into place an "interim final rule" that places a daily limit at 11 hours a day and up to 70 hours a week depending on whether the trips are long-haul or local... Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, a member of a committee reviewing trucker safety, issued a statement after a hearing Wednesday saying the rule "allows truckers to drive for 30 percent longer each week, putting families at higher risk of an accident involving a tired truck driver"... The panel heard testimony from several people who had lost family members in fatal accidents involving fatigued truck drivers... (photo: Under a new rule, truckers could drive another hour before being required to take a break)

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TRUCKING INDUSTRY NEWS * WORLDWIDE

* USA - YRC Buying Chinese LTL Firm - Deal Could Be Up to $75 Million

Overland Park,Kansas -Transport Topics (VA,USA) -20 Dec 2007: -- YRC Logistics will buy Shanghai Jiayu Logistics Co. one of China’s largest LTL companies, with more than 1,800 employees, 30,000 customers and a network of more than 3,000 vehicles... YRC will buy 65% of the stock of Jiayu for between $29.5 million and $43 million, based on Jiayu’s 2007 financial performance. YRC expects to purchase the remaining 35% interest in 2010 of up to $32 million... The payments will be made in Chinese yuan...

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TRUCKMAKERS' NEWS * USA - Navistar to Buy GM’s Medium-Duty Truck Business

Chicago,Ill,USA -Transport Topics (Alexandria,VA) -20 Dec 2007: -- General Motors Corp. and International Truck and Engine Corp. said Thursday they have reached tentative agreement for International’s parent company Navistar Corp. to buy GM’s medium-duty truck business... Under the plan, Navistar would buy GM’s medium-duty truck business and the rights to manufacture GMC and Chevrolet brand vehicles in the class 4-8 gross vehicle weight range, and the related service parts business... The agreement is a step in GM’s plan to sell automobiles and light trucks globally, and would utilize Navistar’s strengths in commercial trucks and engines, and advance its strategy to build scale and reduce costs, the two said...

* GM CEO Wagoner says company is positioned to weather tough 2008
Detroit,Mich,USA -The Canadian Press -20 Dec 2007: -- ... "I'm glad we did all the stuff we did because frankly, the competitive conditions, the economy, obviously the discussions around the fuel economy regulations, certainly highlight that there's plenty of stuff to work on in front of us," GM CEO Rick Wagoner said... On Thursday, GM tentatively agreed to sell its medium-duty truck business to a unit of truck maker Navistar International Corp. The sale, which involves a division that builds vehicles used as tow trucks, for example, is part of GM's plan to focus on building and selling passenger cars and pickup trucks... GM, he said, continued to produce poor cars and rely on truck sales when signs were pointing to the market shift...


* Mack Trucks' deliveries drop 49 percent
Allentown,PA,USA -The Allentown Morning Call, by Spencer Soper -December 21, 2007: -- Figures slumping only in North America. Sales in Asia, South American enjoying robust growth... Mack Trucks' deliveries continued their slump in November, dropping 49 percent from the same month in 2006, its parent company Volvo AB reported Thursday... But the market forces behind the weak truck demand have changed since earlier this year, when new emissions standards caused truck deliveries to plummet. Slow housing construction and freight demand are now to blame for the weak demand, which Mack expects to continue into 2008... Mack delivered 1,539 trucks in November, down from 3,016 in the same month last year. Mack deliveries are a direct representation of demand for its trucks. The company does not manufacture trucks on speculation, but responds to orders from dealers...

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EOBRs for all trucks * USA - NTSB recommends FMCSA implement

One federal agency is telling another federal agency that electronic on-board recorders are needed on all heavy trucks and not just the trucks of companies that have bad safety records

Washington,DC,USA -Land Line Magazine -December 20, 2007: -- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed on-board recorders for the “bad actors” in the industry... According to the proposed regulation, if FMCSA officials determine – based on HOS records reviewed during each of two compliance reviews conducted within a two-year period – that a motor carrier had a 10 percent or greater violation rate, the carrier would be mandated to use EOBRs for two years... All of the trucks owned and leased to the motor carrier would be required to have EOBRs installed, according to the proposed reg... But the head of the National Transportation Safety Board is calling for recorders on all trucks... In a recommendation published Monday, Dec. 17, NTSB officials cited a fatality accident from July 2004 in Michigan as a case in point... Investigators found that a truck driver for Equity Transportation Company had been driving for 14 hours straight when a crash occurred. Congested traffic had queued up on Interstate 94 near Chelsea, MI, and a witness testified that the truck was traveling at 60 mph...


* U.S. Department of Transportation Seeks Technology Solutions to Improve Safety and Reduce Congestion on Nation's Roadways
Washington,DC,USA -Transport Topics -20 Dec 2007: -- The U.S. Department of Transportation's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) today issued a request for information (RFI) to private industry, research organizations, and state and local governments seeking information about commercially available technology applications designed to fight congestion and improve the safety and performance of the nation's transportation system...

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EMISSIONS DEBATE * USA - EPA slaps California with first-ever emission waiver rejection

CAL,USA -Land Line Magazine, by Charlie Morasch -December 20, 2007: -- The Environmental Protection Agency has rejected California’s attempt to set its own greenhouse gas emission levels for cars, light trucks and SUVs – the first time the federal agency has refused a waiver among more than 50 such requests... Since 2005, California has sought an EPA waiver to begin requiring the nation’s first greenhouse gas emission standards for new vehicles sold in California. The law has been approved by 16 other states, and is one of several ways California is trying to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020... EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson cited President Bush’s approval of a 35 mpg federal fuel economy standard on Wednesday, Dec. 19, in explaining his agency’s rejection of the California request... “The Bush administration is moving forward with a clear national solution – not a confusing patchwork of state rules – to reduce America’s climate footprint from vehicles,” Johnson said. President Bush and Congress have set the bar high, and, when fully implemented, our federal fuel standard will achieve significant benefits by applying to all 50 states”... Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, told reporters in a conference call on Wednesday that California is willing to fight the EPA in court over greenhouse gas emissions... “We intend to persevere and to prevail,” Nichols said, according to National Public Radio...


* Emissions decision draws fire - Calif., other states vow to sue EPA for blocking enactment of stricter rules
Washington,DC,USA -The Detroit News (Detroit,Mich), by David Shepardson -December 21, 2007: -- Critics mounted a fierce attack on the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to deny California and other states the right to impose strict vehicle tailpipe emissions limits, with House and Senate committees demanding documents and many state governors vowing to sue to overturn the decision... President Bush defended the federal agency's decision on Thursday. "Is it more effective to let each state make a decision as to how to proceed in curbing greenhouse gases? Or is it more effective to have a national strategy?" Bush said in a year-end press conference. "(EPA) Director (Stephen) Johnson made a decision based upon the fact that we passed a piece of legislation that enables us to have a national strategy"... On Wednesday, Johnson denied California's request to require a 30 percent cut in vehicle tailpipe emissions by 2016, which would have set fuel efficiency requirements of 43.7 miles per gallon for passenger cars and 26.6 mpg for most light trucks... The decision came the same day Bush signed an energy bill that will raise fuel economy standards 40 percent to an industry fleet average of 35 mpg by 2020... California and other states that were seeking the waiver to impose standards stricter than the federal mandates vowed to sue the EPA. Their protests were supported by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee, who sent a two-page letter to EPA administrator Johnson demanding "all communications within the agency and all communications between the agency and persons outside the agency, including persons in the White House, related to the California waiver request"... California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Thursday the state will sue to overturn the decision within three weeks in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. At least eight other states plan to join the lawsuit... "(The) EPA's denial of our waiver request to enact the nation's cleanest standards for vehicle emissions is legally indefensible," Schwarzenegger said. "Anything less than aggressive action is inexcusable"... Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell called the decision laughable. "They have gone from being a passive failure to actively interfering with progress. It is beyond inexplicable: It is inexcusable"... Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, said the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which he chairs, would review the decision, but his initial assessment is the EPA is making an "honest effort"... Waxman's committee conducted an investigation this year that found Transportation Department employees had lobbied members of Congress and governors to oppose the California waiver request... Waxman ordered the EPA to turn over documents from the Office of Transportation and Air Quality and Office of General Counsel by Jan. 17, and any other documents by Jan. 23...

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MEXICANS' TRUCKS DEBATE * USA

* OOIDA: Threat of Mexico blocking trade with U.S. unsubstantiated
Grain Valley,MO,USA -Land Line Magazine, by Jami Jones -December 20, 2007: -- On the eve of final passage of the omnibus appropriations bill, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce officials said if funding for the cross-border trucking program is cut, Mexico might limit imports of some U.S. agriculture products... We learned that the Mexican government has recently been undertaking an exercise to estimate the impact of retaliating against the U.S. if this pilot program is halted,” Janet Kavinoky, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbyist who focuses on transportation legislation, told Copley News Service... “Mexico will retaliate by not allowing exports of U.S. pork, rice and possibly other products – because we’re violating NAFTA”... The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been a big proponent of the cross-border program... OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said he suspects that story was a plant by supporters of the cross-border program and that it amounts to little more than unsubstantiated rumors. He pointed out that the Mexican government itself has not signaled that it would circumvent the law... The mere mention of limiting trade has already drawn fire from Senate Agriculture Chairman Tom Harkin... “Any disagreements over trucking should be kept to that subject and not spill over into interfering with agricultural trade,” Harkin said in a statement. “Trade actions can be taken, but they are supposed to stand on their own...

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2007-12-20

Infrastructure Experiment * USA - Bamboo road bridge can support 16-tonne trucks

Bridges built from bamboo instead of steel could provide a cheaper, more environmentally sustainable engineering solution in China, a recent experiment suggests

CAL,USA -New Scientist, by Mason Inman -19 Dec 2007: -- ... A novel type of bridge with horizontal beams made from a bamboo composite proved strong enough to support even heavy trucks in tests. The bamboo beams are cheaper and more environmentally friendly to make than steel or concrete, yet offer comparable structural strength... Yan Xiao, who works at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, US, and at Hunan University in China, led the development of the bamboo beams used to make the bridge... Instead of using round, pole-like pieces of unprocessed bamboo, which have been used as building material for many thousands of years, he came up with a way of assembling timber-like beams from many smaller strips of bamboo... (Photo from University of Southern California - The novel bridge with horizontal beams made from a bamboo composite proved strong enough to support even heavy trucks)

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TRUCKMAKERS' * WORLDWIDE

* Japan - Nissan to form diesel R&D division for light trucks

Tokyo,Japan -Reuters (USA) -Dec 20, 2007: -- Nissan Motor Co., Japan's third-biggest automaker, said on Thursday its light commercial vehicle (LCV) unit would create a new engineering division to develop diesel engines for light duty trucks... Nissan Motor Light Trucks Co., held 85 percent by Nissan and the rest by Volvo AB unit Nissan Diesel Motor Co., hopes to speed up product development with the 111 engineers in the new division as it aims to join General Motors Corp., and Ford Motor Co., at the top of the global LCV market...

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No BULL * USA - The Ultimate Anti-Smokey Convoy Truck

The BULL is a full armoring system that completely replaces the truck's cab; while the engine and steering wheel remain, everything from the firewall back is replaced

USA -Telstar Logistics -19 Dec 2007: -- ... Depending on the specific conversion requested, it may also involve significant modifications to the remainder of the vehicle. This would make adding BULL armoring to an existing MRAP [mine-resistant ambush-protected] vehicle a full reconfiguration/ redesign effort, rather than a bolt-on job. For obvious reasons, a simple military-grade truck chassis requires much less effort... One of [Ceradyne's] biggest challenges during the Ballistic Protection Experiment was finding commercial trucks and truck axles in North America that were readily available from dealer inventory, could burn JP-8 fuel (an Army requirement), and met their specifications re: axle strength. Military orders are generally produced with heavier axles, but there's a US tax on commercial axles that take more than 13,000 pounds of gross vehicle weight. This is efficient from the standpoint of road repair bills and pay-for-use, but it means that dealers don't usually carry items that can attract extra operator taxes...

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BIODIESEL * USA - Pennsylvania Senate OKs, bills

PEN,USA -Land Line Magazine, by Keith Goble -December 19, 2007: -- Two bills halfway through the Pennsylvania statehouse are intended to boost the state’s use of biofuels through production subsidies and content requirements... As part of a special session that included efforts to promote alternative fuel efforts, Senators voted to advance the bills to the House for further consideration. The content requirement legislation would require biodiesel to be added to each gallon of diesel sold in the state in increasing amounts as in-state production of biodiesel reaches certain thresholds...

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Bush signs energy bill * USA - Heavy truck fuel mileage to be studied

Washington,DC,USA -Land Line Magazine, by David Tanner -December 19, 2007: -- A federal energy bill that President Bush has signed into law includes a fuel mileage study for heavy trucks, increased mileage standards for passenger vehicles, and a mandate for increased use of renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel... Heavy trucks do not currently have a mileage standard, but the energy act directs the National Academy of Sciences to study and develop fuel mileage standards for heavy trucks. The government could require efficiency improvements once a benchmark is determined... Truck manufacturers have been resisting the implementation of mileage standards... Officials with the Truck Manufacturers Association have said mileage varies greatly depending on the specific application of each truck. TMA President Robert M. Clarke said Wednesday a study should help bring clarity and educate regulators and manufacturers about what is realistic and what is not with a new standard... Truck manufacturers want at least four years of lead time before a regulation is finalized, Clarke said, and an additional three years for implementation... Meanwhile, the mileage for passenger vehicles will be increased from 27.5 miles per gallon to 35 mpg for cars and from 22.5 mpg to 35 mpg for light trucks and SUVs. The increase is scheduled to occur in increments from model year 2011 through 2020...

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TOLL ROADS DEBATE * USA - Nevada study group pushing for privatization

NV,USA -The Nevada Appeal/Land Line Magazine -December 18, 2007: -- In hopes of tapping into public-private partnerships to build highways in Nevada, a special panel created by the governor has decided to call on state lawmakers to make it happen... Plans are to allow private groups to construct additional lanes in highly congested areas to make it easier for drivers to bypass traffic jams for a fee. Among the routes mentioned for possible expansion are Interstate 15 and the Boulder City bypass, reported...

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PROTEST * Canada - OOIDA set to take action against Ontario speed limiters

“Do it now” is the latest advice from OOIDA’s government affairs staff to truckers in an effort to oppose mandatory speed limiters in the Canadian province of Ontario

Grain Valley,MO,USA -Land Line Magazine -December 18, 2007: -- ... The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has also issued a Call to Action on the matter. It includes additional details and information on how to submit comments... OOIDA Government Affairs Counsel Laura O’Neill said she wants truckers to get involved before Ontario Transportation Minister Jim Bradley fulfills a promise to file legislation to require speed limiters on all big trucks operating in the province...

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MEXICANS' TRUCKS * Mexico - Mexican truckers planning to block border

The Mexican National Truck Drivers Federation is planning to block the border between Mexico and the United States in January 2008 if the program doesn’t come to an end


Mexico City,DF,MEX -El Financiero/Land Line Magazine (USA), by Jami Jones -December 19, 2007: -- The long list of opponents to the cross-border trucking program isn’t exclusively made up of groups and truckers in the United States. Motor carriers in Mexico are waging their own fight to shut down the program... The union of truckers is upset with the Mexican government for allowing U.S. trucks and truckers into their country... According to the translated article, the federation has approximately 200,000 members who Dip Rame says will clog the border, effectively shutting down all cross-border traffic. The leader of the Federation cautioned authorities in Mexico to remember the strength of his organization... As an example, Dip Rame pointed out that in early November it was only 100 trucks that blocked the road in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, preventing 3,000 truckers and vehicles from crossing into the United States...(Video from YouTube, by RealTruckers -April 09, 2007: "Mexican trucking pilot program" - The U.S. DOT is planning to provide Mexico-domiciled truckers full access to U.S roads)


* USA - If Congress axes funding, Mexico may block exports
Washington,DC,USA -Copley News Service/The Sign on San Diego, by Paul M. Krawzak -December 19, 2007: -- The Mexican government is considering blocking U.S. exports, such as pork and rice, should Congress cut off funding for a cross-border trucking program, as is expected to happen within days... Even if Congress ends funding for the contentious program through the catch-all spending bill that is under consideration, there is a growing expectation that the Bush administration will find a way to continue it in what some say would be an act of defiance and others say would be compliance with the law... Many have assumed the congressional directive would end funding to the program, but a former U.S. transportation official disputes this... Brigham McCown, a former general counsel for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, said the agency might be able to ignore the bill's provision...

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TRUCKMAKERS' NEWS * USA & Canada

* New Kenworth T800 LNG Trucks Featured at Major Fuel Station Opening, To Serve Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach

Carson,CAL,USA -Layover -19 Dec 2007: -- Kenworth liquefied natural gas (LNG) trucks were featured recently at the grand opening of a major LNG truck fueling station in Southern California... Ten Kenworth T800 LNG trucks were displayed during ceremonies at the new facility, which will be operated by Clean Energy Fuels Corp. and is located at Southern Counties Express, a local drayage company. The vehicles will become the first new T800 LNG trucks to operate at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach when placed into service soon by Southern Counties Express. The Kenworth T800s are equipped with the Westport Innovations LNG fuel system installed on the Cummins ISX 15-liter engine. The result is reduced emissions and less reliance on diesel fuel by running the cleaner LNG fuel...


* Durable Kenworth T800s, C500s Prove Unbeatable In Extreme Working Conditions

Carnduff,Saskatchewan,Canada -Layover (USA) -19 Dec 2007: -- Fast Trucking is well known in southeastern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Tony Day first hauled fresh water to remote drilling rigs in this part of Canada in 1957, and the company has served the oil industry ever since. Later, when Fast Trucking started moving drilling rigs in 1979, the company grew to become a multi-million dollar enterprise and an integral player in the Canadian oil industry... "We own Kenworths because they're tough and they last," said Day. Kenworth C500s are used to haul oil rigs, piece by piece, across rugged oil-field terrain. With all of the winches, decking and hydraulics installed on each C500, the truck can weigh as much as 35 tons when empty...


* Kenworth Extends $1,500 Rebate To OOIDA Members on Qualifying New Sleeper Truck Purchases Through 2008
Kirkland,Wash,USA -Truck Net -December 18, 2007: -- Kenworth Truck Company announced an extension through 2008 of its successful rebate program with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA)... Originally introduced six years ago, the program offers a $1,500 rebate to OOIDA members on qualifying purchases of new Kenworth sleeper trucks. Kenworth trucks eligible include the Kenworth T660, T800 and W900 models with 72” AeroCab(R) or 86” Studio AeroCab sleeper, and the T2000 model with 75” AERODYNE(R) sleeper. Buyers must show their OOIDA membership card to their Kenworth dealer at time of purchase...

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PROGNOSIS * USA - Future of Highways Bodes Well For Rails



Plano,TX,USA -GuruFocus.com, by Mike Rubsam -20 Dec 2007: -- Much of the conventional wisdom regarding railroad investing centers around high oil prices. While high oil prices do enhance the economics of rail operators when compared to truckers, as rail transport is much more fuel efficient, there are a few other oil-centric aspects to the long term thesis for rails... One aspect is the gas tax and the condition of the nation’s interstate system. When the interstate system was funded and initially constructed in the middle of the 20 th century, the United States had the enviable position of having the world’s strongest economy, by far. Additionally, construction costs were low, land for expansion was more readily available, and the U.S. still produced much of their own oil, keeping gas and diesel costs very low... Currently the tax on gas, collected on a state and federal level, pays for repairs on our nation’s roads and bridges, but the overall state of disrepair of many of these roads and bridges, as well as lack of capacity on the roads, is a daunting challenge. This challenge is almost sure to become more difficult in the next 20 years... (Video from YouTube, by roundhouses -December 10, 2006 : " Rochelle 2004 " - Two locomotives pass Rochelle in 2004)

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AWARD * USA - Goodyear Fuel Max Commercial Tire Technology is 'Nifty Fifty'

Akron,OH,USA -PRNewswire-FirstCall/Earth Times -19 Dec 2007: -- Goodyear's fuel-efficient commercial tire technology, which is helping truck fleets save on their operating costs, has earned a "Nifty Fifty Award" for best new products in 2007... Newport's Heavy Duty Trucking magazine selected Fuel Max Technology for its "Nifty Fifty Award", one of 50 new products selected on its "usefulness to the truck operator in terms of innovation, serviceability and performance"...

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HOS DEBATE * USA - Bush Administration Sides With Trucking Industry, Ignores Drivers

* Teamsters Say Regulators Used Flawed Analysis in Their Zeal to Satisfy Trucking Industry

Washington,DC,USA -PRNewswire/USNewswire -Dec. 19, 2007: -- The Bush administration's reinstated hours-of-service rule meets the economic needs of the trucking industry but not the health and safety needs of truck drivers, a Teamster official told the Senate surface transportation subcommittee on Wednesday... The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an interim final rule last week. The rule, which was twice thrown out by the court, allows truck drivers to work as many as 84 hours a week. The rule is almost identical to the industry's 2003 proposal, Byrd said... Byrd said the FMCSA cherry-picked from studies supporting its position that an 11-hour driving limit did not result in more fatal crashes than the previous limit of 10 hours... The Teamsters reviewed the information provided by FMCSA and found that it does not support the agency's claim... Byrd said FMCSA acknowledged in the past that the risk of a crash doubles from the 8th hour to the 9th hour of driving, and doubles again from the 10th to the 11th hour... The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) first promulgated the hours-of-service rule increasing the number of hours truckers can drive in 2003. The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down the rule in 2004, but Congress reinstated it as part of the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2004... FMCSA issued a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in January 2005, proposing a rule that was little changed from the 2003 rule that had been struck down... On July 24, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for the second time threw out the rule that increased driving time to 11 hours from 10 hours and allowed drivers to go back to work after being off duty for only 34 hours... In the 39-page opinion, Judge Merrick Garland called the rule "arbitrary and capricious"... The International Brotherhood of Teamsters was a party in the case, joining Public Citizen and the Owner-Operator Independent Driver's Association... The deadline for the court's July decision to go into effect was Sept. 14. But legal challenges pushed that deadline back. FMCSA issued the interim final rule on Dec. 11...


* Senator Blasts Trucking-Hours Rule
Democratic senator blasted the Bush administration's decision to ignore repeated court orders to reduce truck drivers' hours and said keeping the 11-hour limit is "patently unsafe"

Washington,DC,USA -The Houston Chronicle (Houston,TX)/AP, by DAN CATERINICCHIA -Dec. 19, 2007: -- "I think the proposed rule is a sham ... and so do our courts," New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg said at a Senate subcommittee hearing. He was joined by consumer advocates who've sought legal orders to reduce by one hour truckers' daily drive time. "The administration has refused to listen and it's time for Congress to get involved"... The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration last week issued an interim final rule that maintains the current 11-hour driving limit, under which truckers are required to rest for 10 hours. The public has 60 days to comment on the interim final rule... The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in September delayed until Dec. 27 a requirement that would reduce the continuous driving limit to 10 hours with eight hours of rest. The court issued a similar order two years ago... Consumer advocates sued to reduce the amount of time truckers can stay behind the wheel continuously, arguing that longer hours put everyone on the road at risk... Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen, told the Senate subcommittee on surface transportation and merchant marine infrastructure, safety and security, that it is "insanity" the government twice ignored court orders... American Trucking Associations President and Chief Executive Bill Graves in October said he expected federal regulators to issue an interim final rule maintaining the 11-hour limit. Dave Osiecki, the trade group's vice president of safety, security and operations, on Wednesday cited the government data as evidence that the rule is effective... To increase safety, Osiecki called for a national maximum speed limit of 65 miles per hour for all vehicles and for trucks to be outfitted with technology that prohibits them from exceeding that limit. ATA members include United Parcel Service Inc., FedEx Corp., JB Hunt Transport Services Inc. and YRC Worldwide... Lautenberg, the subcommittee chairman, said technology in the trucks to enforce the driving-hours limits would help, but FMCSA has yet to require it. FMCSA Administrator John Hill said a proposed rule would require the on-board recorders in a small portion of the trucks, but he wants to expand that population... The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which represents more than 158,000 independent truckers nationwide, also supports the 11-hour rule, said member Walter J. Krupski. He asked for more flexibility to ensure drivers are not penalized financially for getting off the road when they are tired during a work day...

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