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Mar 31, 2009

STOLEN TRUCKS * USA - Semi left in Niota, but not the trailer full of whiskey

Athens,TN,USA -The Daily Post Athenian, by Jeremy Belk -March 31, 2009: -- A stolen semi-truck was recovered Monday in Niota, but the trailer filled with more $60,000 worth of whiskey that was stolen along with it is nowhere to be found... A white Freightliner semi-truck and a trailer filled with liquor was stolen from a Nashville shipping company on March 22, at around 10:30 p.m.... Police reports from Nashville describe a poor quality video showing a black man wearing a blue shirt first break into a truck before hooking it up to a red cargo trailer and driving away. He cut a lock on the front gate where the truck and trailer were being stored and drove off into the night... (Photo by Anthony Dake - A crew with Benton Wrecker Service unloads a truck at the McMinn County Sheriff's Department. The truck was stolen from the Nashville area and recovered at Crazy Ed's Truck Stop in Niota)

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SEX ON THE ROADS * USA - Some Call Them Prostitutes, Others Call Them Lot Lizards

Bakersfield,CAL,USA -KERO23ABC -March 31, 2009: -- The Citizens Band Radio, or CB, may be a truckers eyes and ears, but it's also the voice of prostitution. The ladies refer to themselves as dates, while truckers call them lot lizards... "Yeah, they get on your truck, they flash you, ask if you want a date, they ask if you want company," said trucker Ralph Ramos... ABC 23 staked out the 24-7 truck stop on three different days and nights and each time, the prostitutes were heard communicating via CB radio to truck drivers. Each time they directed the trucks to what's called, "party row," where police say prostitutes meet up with their clients... Prostitutes ABC 23 spoke to say they charge on average $10 to $50 for oral sex and $100 for intercourse. Others simply charge for their time... Another prostitute named Tahara said, "It varies, sometimes you make $500 a day sometimes you go home with $50."...

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TRUCKERS' HOS * Australia - Cattle industry questions new trucking laws

Alice Springs,NT,Australia -The ABC Rural -30 March 2009: -- The Cattle Council of Australia says national truck driver fatigue laws are an enormous issue for remote beef cattle producers... Concerns were raised at last week's 25th annual Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association conference in Alice Springs... Cattle Council of Australia president Greg Brown, says the laws limit the amount of time drivers can spend on the road... "There's not too many trips out of Alice Springs that you can do in 16 hours working time, let alone driving time, so that's a major issue for this industry, in this country, particularly across a lot of remote Australia."... (Photo by strangecosmos.com: A cattle truck train in Australia)

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INFRASTRUCTURES * Australia - Level crossing upgrades will save lives: truckies

A boom-gate stops traffic at a level suburban level crossing

Sydney,Australia -ABC News -Mar 30, 2009: -- The Australian trucking industry says $150 million in upgrades to the nation's level crossings is good news, despite the funding only being enough to fix 3 per cent of problem crossings... There are around 5,500 "passive" crossings with just stop signs in Australia, but the funding, which is part of the Federal Government's $42 billion stimulus plan, will only see around 200 upgraded... Road and rail authorities are assessing crossings to develop a list of 200 level crossings in most need of upgrade; New South Wales and South Australia have identified specific crossings in the past week... (ABC News: Giulio Saggin, file photo - Infrastructure boost: the Government's $150 million funding will upgrade 200 high-risk level crossings)

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TRUCKERS' TAX * Australia - ATO delays superannuation changes

The Australian Taxation Office will not impose new superannuation obligations next month but there is still uncertainty as to when the changes will take effect

Canberra,Australia -ATN, by Brad Gardner -31 March 2009: -- ... In a letter to industry stakeholders, ATO Assistant Commissioner, Robyn Bruce, has acceded to industry requests to defer the introduction of the 9 percent superannuation obligation on “regular, normal, customary or usual” overtime earnings... The tax office originally planned on introducing the scheme for the trucking industry on April 1 but eventually decided “it would not be appropriate for the trucking industry to be required to change its practices from 1 April, 2009”... Industry groups NatRoad and the South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) called for the scheme to be delayed to at least July 1, which would be in line with other industries... Although trucking businesses have been granted a reprieve, attention now turns to when the tax office will follow through on the changes, with Bruce remaining vague on an implementation date... (Photo from facebook's Cow-boy of the Roads Worldwide: "Come loading from the hell")

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PRODUCTS * Canada - Ice road truckers choose OmniVision satellite communication system

Mississauga,ONT,CAN -Truck News -27 March 2009: -- ... RTL Robinson Enterprises specializes in bulk fuel re-supply for many of the diamond mines and communities in the NWT. The re-supply occurs during the winter months when trucks travel along the winter ice roads, which are built over frozen lakes and tundra. The ice roads offer an economical alternative to supply by aircraft, for areas not on the regular road system. Each year, RTL builds and maintains winter roads to deliver fuel, equipment and other goods to remote locations... “Satellite communication was essential for us as our head office is in Yellowknife and many of our drivers travel north from there,” said Tom Kenny, CEO, RTL Robinson Enterprises. “To ensure the safety of our drivers, we must have a communication solution that we know we can rely on. Shaw Tracking provided that for us. We were also looking for a technology that would easily integrate with our existing dispatch software.”...

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TRUCKMAKERS' NEWS WORLDWIDE

* Volvo launches the most powerful truck in the world

Stockholm,Sweden -ATN -31 March 2009: -- Volvo Trucks has launched what is claimed to be the world’s most powerful series-manufactured truck — the Volvo FH16 with 700hp and 3150Nm torque... Volvo Trucks says it is the first manufacturer in the world to be able to put a 700hp badge on its vehicles. “The Volvo FH16 is intended for the very heaviest and most demanding of transport operations. It is also a highly prestigious truck for the customer who is looking for something truly out of the ordinary. And with 700 hp under the engine compartment cover, the Volvo FH16 sets itself apart from everything else in the industry,” says Staffan Jufors, President and CEO of Volvo Trucks...


* USA - Mack says no to Volvo engines

Sydney,Australia -ATN, by Gary Worrall -31 March 2009: -- Future Mack trucks will retain their individual character, rather than lifting complete drivelines from stablemate Volvo, says Mack Trucks Inc President and CEO Deny Slagle... When asked if future Macks might contain a badge-engineered Volvo engine and transmission to provide both big power outputs as well as improved emission controls, Slagle says Mack will stay with its MP8 engine range... While he acknowledges the benefits of using Volvo’s data base on engine design, Slagle says the MP8 will continue to be built to Mack specifications, although it will incorporate some Volvo-sourced technologies like SCR, which is set be debut in 2010...


* Australia - Isuzu completes record year

Sydney,Australia -ATN -31 March 2009: -- As if to thumb its nose at the global financial crisis, Isuzu Australia again recorded a crushing sales victory during December, finishing the year with 25 percent of the Australian new truck market in its pocket... Reinforcing this domination, Isuzu also delivered more than double the number of deliveries of any other manufacturer during the month, according to data collected by ERG International and published monthly on Fullyloaded.com.au...
(Photo: Izusu's trucks)


* USA - Navistar Targets More Complex Funding Deals To Spur Sales

Chicago,ILL,USA -Dow Jones Newswires/The Wall Street Journal, by Bob Tita -March 31, 2009: -- The finance arm of Navistar International Corp. is eyeing more complex funding deals in an effort to lure larger customers... The U.S. truck maker has not accessed the securitization market since last fall. But at a time when truck industry sales remain sluggish because of weak freight demand, truck buyers are becoming more reliant on vendor financing... Navistar Financial Corp., is looking to sell down portions of large customer loans or assemble syndicates of banks and specialized equipment lenders to write business... Banks including Wells Fargo & Co. and KeyBank have syndicate lending operations for industrial equipment, said Navistar, which has resorted to multi-party financing arrangements for wholesale purchases by truck dealerships... Johanneson said the company has an opportunity to create long-term customer loyalty with large truck fleets if it's able to provide financing at a time when others won't...


* Canada - Manac goes "light" with its Darkwing line of aluminum flatbeds

Saint Georges,QUE,CAN -Truck News -March 27, 2009 -- Manac launched its first aluminum flatbed 10 years ago to lighten the load for semitrailers, but its new Darkwing series has been completely redesigned to improve performance and strength as well... The riveted, three-piece main beam is 27 inches high with a camber of 5 inches, producing a concentrated load of 60,000 lb./4 ft. In order to keep the number of welds to a strict minimum, Manac opted for a mechanical assembly of accompanying subcomponents, which the company says also acts to streamline maintenance... Manac says the floor structure is rigid to provide enhanced stability and integrate several cargo retention devices, including aluminum tube side pockets, rub rail spacers, six rows of floor-mounted securement tracks with grab hooks and sliding winches... (Photo: A 48-ft. Darkwing flatbed with a 122-inch tandem axle suspension.)

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TRUCKERS' FIGHT * Canada - OOIDA continues speed limiter battle

Toronto,Ont,CAN -Truck News -28 March 2009: -- The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is meeting with provincial and federal officials on the issue of speed limiters in early April, and is looking for anecdotal reports from truckers... The US-based owner/operator association wants to hear from American and Canadian drivers who have experienced problems with the speed limiter legislation in Ontario and Quebec... (Photo: "Rainbow" from Desiree)


* Canada - 'The time has come to end regressive tolls'

Dieppe,NB,CAN -Truck News -27 March 2009: -- The Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association has continued its offensive on road and marine tolls in the region, a little more than a week after lashing out at a proposal that would reintroduce tolls to New Brunswick highways... Executive director Peter Nelson reiterating this stance at a board of directors meeting where the group voted to support an initiative to remove tolls from the Saint John Harbour Bridge...

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TRUCKERS' TAX * USA - Ad valorem tax

Grain Valley,MO,USA -Land Line Magazine -March 30, 2009: -- Ad valorem trucking tax is a boneheaded “property” tax used by Kansas, Arkansas and Kentucky to bilk bucks from trucking companies large and small for miles run in those states. It doesn’t matter if you have property there or not. If you ran miles in those states, you pay. Land Line's Managing Editor Sandi Soendker explains more in today’s blog...

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TRUCKERS' SAFETY * USA - Not economic concerns, should be VDOT’s first priority

Richmond,VA,USA -Land Line Magazine, by Clarissa Kell-Holland -March 27, 2009: -- In Virginia, 25 rest areas and the valuable parking spots they provide for the motoring public are on the endangered list as the Virginia Department of Transportation looks for ways to cut costs... At a public meeting in Richmond on March 26, more than 75 people, including several truckers, expressed their concern about the rest area closure proposal... OOIDA Regulatory Affairs Specialist Joe Rajkovacz said the simple answer to VDOT’s dilemma is to spend less money paving a “few miles of road” and to focus more on highway safety like providing “safe havens” for truckers and motorists... “Their (VDOT’s) first priority should be about ensuring highway safety for the entire motoring public, not about saving money,” he told Land Line Magazine a day after the public meeting in Richmond. “Their attitude that this is just a cost-saving measure shows callous disregard for highway safety”... (Photo from media.insidenova: Virginia's Rest Area)


* North Dakota, Minnesota suspend rules for truckers providing relief efforts

MINN,USA -Land Line Magazine -March 27, 2009: -- With the widespread flooding the governors of both North Dakota and Minnesota have temporarily suspended various trucking regulations for truckers providing relief efforts... North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven waived the hours-of-service requirements for trucks and buses providing relief supplies or transporting people to or from the flooded areas... In Minnesota, Gov. Tim Pawlenty waived hours of service regs, weight restrictions and various required permits for motor carriers hauling relief supplies to flooded areas of the state... (Photo LATimes: The widespread flooding in North Dakota and Minnesota)

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TRUCKERS' HEALTH * USA - Fitness for duty plan would pull millions from road

“These drivers work hard; it’s not an easy life”

Grain Valley,MO,USA -Land Line Magazine, by Charlie Morasch -27 March 2009: -- More than 10,000 truck driving patients have gone through McElligott’s Professional Drivers Medical Depot clinics – a chain of truck stop-based medical clinics for truckers with offices mostly in the southern U.S... Dr. John McElligott said it’s not difficult to encounter drivers who have one or two borderline health issues – maybe a slight case of asthma, a borderline blood pressure, or a “heart gallop” noticed during one visit... McElligott’s view of treating driver health practically appears to fly in the face of a recently proposed fitness for duty matrix system recommended by the FMCSA Medical Review Board... The rule would require drivers who have either a condition or meet one of a long list of medical criteria to increase their DOT physicals or be barred from driving altogether... The matrix would punish drivers who exhibit more than one of the following conditions:
* diabetes (medicinally treated),
* cardiovascular disease,
* hypertension,
* disrhythmias,
* obstructive sleep apnea,
* a Body Mass Index of 35 or greater (A 5-foot-8 inch tall male weighing 230 pounds has a BMI of 35),
* opioid or benzodiazepine use,
* renal disease,
* pulmonary disease,
* epilepsy,
* musculoskeletal disease requiring medical surgical or prosthetic treatment,
* requirement for visual exemption (vision not meeting 20-40 after corrective lenses),
* major psychiatric illness, and
* “other conditions as identified by FMCSA.”
If there’s good news on the topic, it’s that truckers don’t have to comply with the recommendation – at least not yet. Because, right now, it is just a recommendation...
Federal regulators don’t understand the stresses truck drivers are under, McElligott said, or the consequences of heaping on misguided regulations would have on small trucking companies... "If we’ve got a driver with a health problem, let’s educate him, get him treated but not let him lose his home, house and everything else because of a couple of doctor visits,” McElligott said. “I think they need to understand the consequences of these actions”... (P's.N.: And what about the motorist, in general ??? ... they don't would be controlled ??? Because on the roads they are most dangerous than truckers !!!)

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Mar 30, 2009

TRUCKERS' BEAUTIES * USA - WOMENs in TRUCKING

* Those Wonderful Women Truckers

USA -Ask the Trucker -(Originally published) February 5, 2007: -- Presently, there are about 8 million licensed CDL drivers in the United States. Approximately 4.5 million of these are active truck drivers. Professional truck driving, specifically over the road trucking, has always been noted as a field dominated by men. The rough and tough trucking life could only be handled by a real man . . . well, times are changing!... Women in trucking actually goes back to 1929 when Lillie Elizabeth Drennan became the first women to receive the CDL license. Driving an old Chevrolet, she was a rugged lady who carried a loaded revolver with her on her trucking adventures. Born in 1897, she paved the way for women truckers up to her passing in 1974... Today, there are nearly 170,000 women truckers, making up 5% of all U.S. trucking jobs. By the end of 2007, that number is expected to attain 200,000... What motivates these women to leave the general work place? You will find that independence and the irrepressible challenge of truck driving jobs are the two most common motivations given. Another important reason is the wage-earning aspect. Truck driving averages 20-30% higher wages than jobs’ women usually enter into. Woman in trucking is on such a rise in the United States that it is the cause of such great organizations such as the National and International Women’s Trucking Association. Also, women are taking on more important leading roles such as management, safety, dispatching, sales and recruiting... (Photo from Truth About Trucking)


Charleston,West Virginia,USA -Gi Gi Roxx -29 March 2009: -- ... (After a trucking day) ... So I went about my evening, eating a nice meal and then relaxing in my truck. The next morning I woke up and headed to the States. I half expected there to still be some issue with my paperwork and as I approached the border I started getting a little nervous about it. But, once again I was found fortunate in that I was in and out with no hiccups whatsoever... I delivered my load in Iowa the next day. As I was delivering I began receiving my next assignment and promptly made my way to the next destination. I picked up a load bound for North Carolina and headed east. That night I made it to our terminal in Indianapolis for the night. Of course, anytime I have to take a DOT break there I head to the hotel we have a contract with. It's darn near a 4 star hotel (at least in my book) and the price is just right... After a lovely night of catching up on Heroes (online at nbc.com) and sweet comfortable sleep in a queen size bed, I headed back to our terminal and got my day started. I had enough time on my load that I was able to plan a stop at my house for the night and still make on time delivery. So I did just that. I got home in the afternoon and had a wonderful evening dining with my beau and two of our great friends. We enjoyed beer and hot wings and trivia and laughs... The next morning was even better. I don't know how much more lucky I can get... so I'm saying that Saturday morning was the end of the line for now, so as to not jinx myself...


* And endingly: Desiree !!!

USA -Ask The Trucker (comments) -October 19, 2008: -- Who it's??? ... Hello, My name is Desiree... Entering the trucking industry as a single woman with no background in trucking or prior knowledge of the industry made for many unfortunate missteps... However, I found it AFTER the $4000.00 was paid to a CDL Mill. At that point though I knew it would be up to me alone to question everything on the surface that was being presented to me to make trucking seem like the deperate need for more drivers was partly a scam being perpetuated to get paying students. True, there are plenty of jobs and this is really what I wanted to do so pushing all fluff aside the recruiter tried to feed me, I simply said to myself, “Self, do you really want to be a trucker?” and the answer was “YES!”...

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MEXICANS' TRUCKS * USA - Cross-border trucking re-examined

Washington,DC,USA -eTrucker, by Jill Dunn -26 March 2009: -- U.S. leaders sought to improve relations with Mexico and reinvent the cross-border trucking program last week after ending the controversial project that spawned tariffs... Mexico has responded to the United State’s closure of the two-year-old program by imposing $2.4 billion in trade retaliation... California Gov., Arnold Schwarzenegger, has asked his state’s congressional delegation to restore the trade relationship with Mexico, California’s largest trading partner... On the other side of the fence, the American Farm Bureau Federation has asked President Obama for “quick development and implementation of a cross-border trucking program” in hope of ending trade sanctions against U.S. farm products by Mexico...

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TRUCKING INDUSTRY NEWS * USA - Hard road ahead

* Trucking rates fall amid low demand, heavy competition

Greensboro,NC,USA -The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area, by Laura Youngs -March 29, 2009: -- Heavier competition and dwindling demand for consumer products are forcing trucking companies in the Triad to lower prices, cutting into already suffering revenues and leading some firms to lay off workers... Freight haulers in the area already were hurting after a painfully slow holiday season that is normally a major time for business. But in recent months, company officials say they’ve gone from holding steady on their mileage rates — how much they charge per mile traveled — to bidding at levels not seen, in some cases, since the early 2000s... “I don’t look for (pricing pressure) to stop real soon,” Ron Boroughs, senior vice president of business development and administration at Furniture Transport Group in High Point, said... “I still think we’ll be fighting this for a while.”...


* Truckers slog through recession, face tough air rules

San Bernardino,CAL,USA -The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, by Matt Wrye -29 March 2009: -- Economic recovery for the Inland Empire's logistics industry means more than just getting truckers back on the road and forklift drivers moving through warehouses again... It means adapting and surviving the nation's toughest clean-air rules scheduled to hit the books over the next decade, long after the economy recovers... The one-two punch of a profit-siphoning recession and strict carbon emissions laws are eating away the financial cushion of several small trucking companies, third-party distributors and other goods movement businesses... The ones who aren't going belly up see brighter days ahead when federal stimulus monies start flowing into the region. Equipment and materials will need to be moved from one place to another... But the emissions standards are here to stay, forcing some operations out of business and others to lay off workers, hunker down and evolve... (Photo by LaFonzo Carter - Saul Nuno, of Apex Bulk Commodities in Fontana, heads out on his daily assignments Tuesday. The Inland Empire's distribution and storage industry has been hit hard by the recession and faces tough clean-air rules)


* Mid-States Bankruptcy Filing May Signal Further Trucking Woes

Austin,TX,USA -Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal, by Bob Sechler -March 30, 2009: -- The bankruptcy filing of Mid-States Express Inc., a midsized U.S. trucking company, is raising industry concerns about a fresh wave of failures amid slowing demand... The privately held company based in Aurora, Ill., started notifying customers late last week that it would cease operations and filed for bankruptcy in an Illinois court Friday... The U.S. trucking sector saw dozens of bankruptcies in the first half of last year as slowing demand collided with soaring diesel prices. The failure rate abated in the fall as fuel started to moderate... However, demand fell sharply from last November, adding to existing overcapacity... The fall in volume led to layoffs, furloughs and service cutbacks at carriers that transport goods either by truck, rail or cargo plane...

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Clean Truck * USA - Progress By The Numbers

Clean Truck Programs' Six months: 23 percent of the trucks at the Port of Los Angeles and 21 percent of the trucks calling at the Port of Long Beach meet the 2007 emissions standard

Los Angeles,CAL,USA -The Cunningham Report -29 March 2009: -- ... As of last week, the Port of L.A. reported about 3,500 trucks that are 2007-compliant out of approximately 15,000 trucks registered to call at its terminals. The Port of Long Beach reported 3,192 trucks that are 2007-compliant out of some 14,853 registered trucks. The numbers are similar because most trucks are registered at both ports, even though the ports maintain separate registries... The numbers show that the nation's busiest harbor complex is making progress toward greening the privately owned truck fleet that serves its terminals. The fee on older trucks - a carrot to most of those who invested in 2007-compliant models and a stick to those yet to do so - is expected to boost port business for companies converting their fleets ahead of schedule... But the numbers also show there is a long way to go. Between now and the end of the year, the ports have to find a way to replace all of the trucks that are older than model year 1994 or unretrofitted trucks that are model year 1994-2003... (Photo by unitedgs.com: Los Angeles' Trucks Port)


* Court to Hear Clean-truck Arguments April 27. District court to review concession requirements for ‘egregious elements’

Los Angeles,CAL,USA -The Journal of Commerce Online, by Bill Mongelluzzo -Mar 30, 2009: -- Lawyers representing the American Trucking Associations and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on April 27 will present oral arguments in the ports’ clean-truck case... In a related development, the Federal Maritime Commission, which is suing the ports in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., over other elements of the clean-truck plan, determined at the weekend that it will cite the 9th Circuit’s ruling in its case. The ports requested that the 9th Circuit’s comments not be included in the FMC’s case... The commission is challenging the clean-truck plan’s truck fees, and exemptions from those fees, in its case before the Washington district court...

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Mar 29, 2009

TRUCKMAKERS' NEWS * WORLDWIDE

* USA - Company To Assemble Electric Trucks At KCI - Production To Begin In Third Quarter Of 2009

Kansas City,MO,USA -KMBC TV -March 27, 2009: -- Smith Electric Vehicles announced Friday that a line of electric delivery trucks will be assembled near the Kansas City International Airport... The trucks will be about the size of a common parcel delivery truck. They'll be marketed to companies with a fleet of trucks that drive daily routes of about 100 miles... Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was in Kansas City for the announcement, and he test drove one of the electric trucks... SEV CEO Bryan Hansel admitted the trucks are more expensive than current delivery trucks that are now in use. But he said over the 15-year life of the vehicle, operating costs are 80 percent less. He hopes that eventually attracts fleets from other companies... (See Video)


* India - Tata Motors Plans Truck-Making Unit in Myanmar

Mumbai,India -Bloomberg, by Anoop Agrawal -March 29, 2009: -- Tata Motors Ltd. plans to set up a truck-making unit in Myanmar with the financial support of the federal Indian government, the Business Standard newspaper reported without saying from where it got the information... The government will sanction a $20 million credit line which will be used to set up an assembly plant and a component- manufacturing factory, the newspaper said...


* China - Zhou Says Economy Recovers on Decisive Action

Beijing,China -Bloomberg, by Li Yanping -26 March 2009: -- ... SAIC-Iveco Hongyan Commercial Vehicle Co., a Chinese truckmaker, said today it is winning orders from local miners for deliveries as early as the third quarter, indicating demand may be recovering... “We are receiving truck orders for their operations in Southern Africa and India,” Matthew Wang, general manager of SAIC-Iveco Hongyan’s Kairui sales center, said in an interview during the Asian Mining Congress in Singapore. “Our business is increasing as copper prices rise.”...


* USA - Kenworth adds tandem rear suspension

USA -Fleet Owner -Mar 30, 2009: -- Kenworth has added a new tandem rear suspension for its Class 8 trucks. The proprietary Kenworth AG400L, a disc brake-compatible suspension, is a 40,000-lb. highway system for the Kenworth T660, T800, T2000 and W900 models... The four-bag suspension is suitable for over-the-road and P&D applications, Kenworth said, and is designed to provide a smooth ride through a trailing-arm design...

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Mar 28, 2009

INSFRASTRUCTURES * USA - Through Government's Stimulus Funds

* Ohio to build new Interstate 90 Innerbelt bridge with

Cleveland,OH,USA -The Trucker -28 March 2009: -- Ohio transportation officials will use $200 million of federal stimulus money to help build a new five-lane Interstate-90 Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland... That's about half the amount needed for the project. The rest of the money is coming from other federal and state transportation funding sources...


* Oklahoma to award $250 million in road stimulus contracts next week


Oklahoma City,OK,USA -The Trucker -28 March 2009: -- Gov. Brad Henry, and state transportation officials announced Friday that contracts will be awarded next week for $250 million in road and bridge projects, providing a boost to the Oklahoma economy... The first phase of the economic stimulus program has projects in all areas of the state. The projects are in addition to those in the regular eight-year construction plan of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation... Gov. Brad Henry said the winners of the stimulus road work are Oklahoma motorists and the state's economy...


* Subcontractors dominate crowd at Colorado road stimulus meeting

Denver,COL,USA -Associated Press/The Trucker -28 March 2009: -- A meeting Friday where state transportation officials described road projects getting federal stimulus money drew more than 200 people, mostly subcontractors who have watched private projects dry up in the weak economy... Overall CDOT expects Colorado to get more than $500 million in stimulus money for transportation projects statewide... The projects include one to widen part of Colorado 9 between Breckenridge and Frisco, and another to manage areas where truckers would chain up during snowy weather on Interstate 70...

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WEATHER TROUBLES * USA - Winter storm closes major highways in Oklahoma

Oklahoma City,OK,USA -The Trucker -27 March 2009 — A powerful winter storm that pushed into northwest Oklahoma Friday knocked out power for hundreds residents and dropped heavy snow across several counties, prompting the closure of major highways, including the heavily-truck traveled Interstate 40... Gov. Brad Henry declared a state of emergency for much of Oklahoma, allowing state agencies to make emergency purchases to deal with the storm and starting the process of seeking federal assistance should it be necessary... Forecasters predicted "unprecedented levels" of snow for late March and travel problems as far south as the Interstate 44 corridor as the storm moved through the state... (Photo Truck driving on icy road)

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VMT or not VMT? * USA - Paying by the Mile

The vehicle mileage tax gains traction as a funding mechanism for the Highway Trust Fund

Washington,DC,USA -The Journal of Commerce Online, by R.G. Edmonson -Mar 19, 2009: -- A federal commission wants policymakers and Congress to ponder as they search for ways to pay for maintaining and improving transportation infrastructure in the first third of the 21st century... Before making the switch to the VMT system, it would be better to see how well the highway fund would fare with an increase in the fuel tax, and making sure trust fund money isn’t raided for other purposes, Clayton Boyce, spokesman for the American Trucking Associations, said... Drivers currently pay 18.3 cents per gallon on gasoline and 23.4 cents on diesel fuel. The tax rate hasn’t changed since 1993, but Robert D. Atkinson, chairman of the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission said, inflation has effectively eroded one-third of revenue. The funding gap has the trust fund on the brink of insolvency. Last September, Congress approved an $8 billion capital infusion from general revenue to keep the fund afloat, but officials said it was only a temporary fix... A VMT rate of 0.9 cents per mile would generate the same amount of revenue as the current fuel tax, Atkinson said. The commission is recommending a rate of 2.3 cents per mile to keep the trust fund healthy and provide all that’s needed to maintain the system...


* Truckers’ Slow Lane to Taxes

Washington,DC,USA -The Journal of Commerce Magazine, by R.G. Edmonson -Mar 16, 2009: -- ... Craig R. Lentzsch, vice chairman of the American Bus Association, and a member of the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission, believes taxes on diesel fuel, truck tires, trailer sales taxes and heavy vehicle taxes are a more reliable short-term source of revenue for the Highway Trust Fund... Fuel tax revenue is expected to decline because of improvements in fuel economy by electric and hybrid passenger vehicles. Truck engine technology will not make the same quantum leaps... Improved fuel economy, coupled with the fact the current federal gas tax has remained stagnant for more than a decade, has taken a toll on federal revenue for road and transit construction and maintenance. The Highway Trust Fund would have run dry last September if not for an $8 billion transfer by Congress to keep it in the black... Congress charged Lentzch’s commission with recommending ways to raise money to maintain and improve highway and transit infrastructure. The commission’s consensus was the U.S. should look at the VMT as an alternative to fuel taxes and see it as the long-term solution to maintaining the Highway Trust Fund... Leslie Blakey, executive director of the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors, said Congress should establish a discrete freight trust fund to provide money for projects using the same criteria as the projects of national or regional significance in the current highway-funding law... Blakey said a new freight user fee should make up most of the funding for the program. The fee should not skew the marketplace in favor of one mode or another, and freight users should see it as value-added...

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MEXICANS' TRUCKS * USA - Small Truckers Slam Mexico Trade Effort

Independent drivers demand infrastructure safety, security standards

Grain Valley,MO,USA -The Journal Of Commerce, by John Gallagher -Mar 27, 2009: -- Small trucking companies are calling on the Obama Administration to suspend plans to establish another cross-border trucking program with Mexico until Mexico meets U.S. infrastructure safety, and security standards... “Under current conditions in Mexico there is little opportunity or willingness on the part of U.S. truckers to compete in Mexico,” said James Johnston, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, in a letter to President Obama... “Until the Mexican government commits to addressing its deteriorated infrastructure, significantly combats the rampant crime within its borders and promulgates regulations that significantly improve the safety of highway travelers, U.S. truckers will be unable to benefit from anticipated reciprocity. Rather, in the foreseeable future U.S. truckers would be forced to forfeit their own economic opportunities while inadequately compensated Mexican truckers, free from equivalent regulatory burdens, take over their traffic lanes.”... (Photo: Trucks at the Mexican border)


* Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calls for quick resolution of Mexico truck dispute

Monterrey,Nuevo Leon,MEX —The Associated Press/The Trucker -26 March 2009: -- U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Thursday called for a quick end to the dispute that has emerged in the wake of the culmination of the Cross Border Demonstration Project, saying both sides need to ensure that traffic across the border is safe and legal... Clinton commented on the issue as she wrapped up a two-day visit to Mexico...

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