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2009-12-21

TRUCKMAKERS' NEWS * USA - Navistar says customers loving its MaxxForce engines

Warrenville,ILL,USA -Truck News (CAN) -18 Dec 2009: -- Navistar says its big bore MaxxForce engines are earning rave reviews after their first full year in the marketplace... The company’s 11- and 13-litre engines are known for their quiet operation and the company says they’re also delivering excellent performance and fuel economy... The MaxxForce engines use a compacted graphite iron block and high-pressure common rail fuel system as well as advanced electronic controls to maximize fuel economy and minimize engine noise, the company says. Customers are reportedly also pleased with the power and torque... TC Trans, a Blaire, Wash.-based carrier that runs into Canada, says it moved from a 15-litre to a 13-litre MaxxForce and is now getting 8% better fuel economy... (Photo from oemoffhighway: Navistar's MaxxForce 13 engine)


* USA - Navistar partners with Danish developer of NOx-reducing technology

Warrenville,ILL,USA -Truck News (CAN) -21 Dec 2009: -- Navistar has announced it is investing in a Danish company that may hold the key to meeting strigent NOx emissions limits mandated by the EPA... Amminex offers a metal ammine-based NOx reductant delivery system, which Navistar plans to explore in certain applications. Navistar officials said the system matches very well with its own 2010 engine technology which uses Advanced EGR to meet EPA2010 requirements in-cylinder...


* Resized Mack Trucks in final stages of restructuring


Lower Macungie Township,PA,USA -Le High Valley/The Express-Times, by TOM ZANKI -December 20, 2009: -- Mack Trucks is practically starting over. The storied truckmaker is approaching the final stages of a painful restructuring that included uprooting its headquarters and deep job cuts... As the transition moves toward completion, the resized company says its commitment to local manufacturing has strengthened... The overhaul that began in 2008, which also moved corporate offices to North Carolina, introduced a bigger role for Lower Macungie... The nearly one-million-square-foot plant on Alburtis Road, about 30 miles west of Easton, now makes all Mack trucks for the world... Manufacturing at a Virginia plant closed during the shakeup, increasing the focus here... The Lehigh County hub builds highway trailers as well as smaller vocational trucks for waste and construction industries. It produces about 51 trucks a day... Expansion depends on economy... (Photo from macktrucks - 1970: Mack World Headquarters opens in Allentown, Pennsylvania.)

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TRUCKING INDUSTRY * Europe - Deutsche-Post DHL said to be selling French domestic business


Paris,France -TI, by Thomas Cullen -21 Dec 2009: -- Unconfirmed reports have appeared in the French press suggesting that Deutsche Post-DHL has agreed to sell its French domestic DHL Express business to the French investment company Caravelle. According to various reports, the deal has yet to be formally approved by the DP-DHL management board. The value of the deal is also unclear with suggestions that Caravelle plans to pay between $200m and $300m for DHL France. Deutsche-Post DHL has, as yet, made no statement... DHL Express in France is believed to be experiencing continuing losses at its French business, possibly running into tens of millions of euros per year... French based Caravelle is a specialist in turning loss making companies around, looking to make investments in the region of €300-400m... The reception of the news of the DHL sale amongst the workforce was one of an expectation of job losses. However, again it is unclear what Caravelle's management approach will be although it is suggested that the company has a record of working closely with the trade unions... (Photo from arabiansupplychain: DHL package delivery)

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ALTERNATIVE FUELS * Canada - EnCana seeks natural gas highway network

Energy firm is asking the federal government to put $1-billion in to kick-start a transformation of the country's highways

Calgary,ALB,CAN -Report On Business/Globe Investor, by Nathan Vanderklippe -December 20, 2009: -- One of Canada's biggest energy companies is asking the federal government for $1-billion to kick-start a transformation of the country's highways... Over the past few months, EnCana Corp. has been in talks with government officials about a plan to build a network of hundreds of compressed and liquid natural gas fuelling stations between Windsor, Ont. and Quebec City, Canada's busiest highway corridor... EnCana, one of the continent's biggest suppliers of natural gas, is also pushing Ottawa to create tax incentives for trucking companies that convert their 18-wheelers from diesel to natural gas engines. The company has been working together with Westport Innovations Inc., a maker of natural-gas-powered truck engines, and the Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance to convince the Conservative government to include the spending item in its spring budget... (Image from EnCana)

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Trucking Industry * USA - To Fight Hunger Through St. Mary's Food Bank

Andy Ahern of Ahern & Associates Rally's

Phoenix,AZ,USA -PR Inside/EIN Presswire -December 15, 2009: ... Thanks to the perennial efforts of Andy Ahern, CEO of trucking consulting firm Ahern & Associates, Ltd., the trucking industry annually delivers a very valuable payload to St. Mary's Food Bank which helps fund their cause and provide food for the needy... Leveraging his extensive list of contacts he's built through the years, Ahern regularly solicits his colleagues to band together around the holiday season and provide much needed corporate funding to St. Mary's Food Bank, the world's first food bank. Ahern has singled out St. Mary's Food bank based on the fact that 90% of the aide provided goes to feed families with small children and the elderly. Additionally, for every $1.00 collected by St. Mary's, .96 cents goes back into the community and ultimately equals $7.00 of food... This year, Ahern has accumulated sizeable donations from companies like North American Transportation, LLC, Land-Link Traffic Systems, Benesch Law Firm, Lawrence Leasing Inc. and Stan Koch & Sons Transportation among others with donations rolling in weekly. Prior contributors include Paschal Truck Lines, Inc., Fenway Partners, Inc., American Transport, Inc., PGT Trucking and Hogan Transport, Inc. to name a few...


* Canada - Manitoba speeders to pay by the km/h

Winnipeg,MAN,CAN -Truck News -17 Dec 2009: -- Manitoba is changing the way it levies speeding fines to reflect the actual speed of the driver... The changes, to come into effect in the new year, will result in charges of $7.70 per km/h over the posted limit... Charging $7.70 per km/h over the limit will generally result in higher fines than under the previous formula which consisted of several categories... (Image from Teresco.org: Trans Canada 1 East shield. At Canmore, Alberta)

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2009-12-20

RULES * USA - Senate Extends Highway Bill Two Months

Resolution keeps SAFETEA-LU in place as Senate debates jobs, infrastructure measures

Washington,DC,USA -The Journal of Commerce Online, by R.G. Edmonson -Dec 19, 2009: -- The Senate gave existing highway funding programs a two-month reprieve today when it approved a Defense Department appropriations bill 88-12... Included in the defense bill is a continuing resolution that allows the government to disburse money under the terms of the 2005 surface transportation act known as SAFETEA-LU. The Senate extended the law until Feb. 28, 2010... The extension gives the Senate time to consider a jobs bill that also cleared the House on Dec. 16. The bill directs $75 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, with two-thirds of the total going to Department of Transportation infrastructure programs...

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TRANSPORT STATISTICS * USA - Intermodal Traffic Decreases for Week

Washington,DC,USA -Transport Topics -18 Dec 2009: -- U.S. intermodal rail traffic dropped 3% in the week ended Saturday compared with the same week last year, the Association of American Railroads said... Total intermodal volume declined to 204,950 units, from 211,354 last year, AAR said in its weekly report... Containers rose 3.6% to 167,478 units, while trailer volume plunged 24.5% to 37,472 units... Freight rail traffic, which excludes intermodal traffic, fell 10.2% to 261,933 carloads, AAR said... Railroad volume is considered an important economic indicator. Intermodal traffic, which tends to be higher-valued merchandise than bulk commodities, uses trains for the long haul and trucks for the shorter distance at either end of the trip... (Photo from joc.com)

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Big Winter Storm * USA - Moves Toward Mid-Atlantic, Northeast

Washington,DC,USA -Transport Topics -18 Dec 2009: -- Much of the mid-Atlantic region was put under a winter storm warning Friday as officials predicted up that up to 18 inches of snow would fall in some places this weekend... The National Weather Service predicted that snow would affect travel along Interstates 81 and 95 in the mid-Atlantic and into the Northeast... The storm dumped more than a foot of rain in Florida overnight, where water reached knee-level in Miami and more than a foot in Hollywood Thursday night... As the storm makes its way up the coast, the weather service predicted 2 to 3 inches of rain in parts of Georgia. The system will turn to snow by the time it reaches the northeast corner of Tennessee... Western and central Virginia will get as much as 18 inches of snow during the weekend, NWS predicted. Baltimore and Washington could see up to a foot of snow... The storm is likely reach New England before the weekend ends, and could dump 6 inches of snow in New York City... (Photo from Life- cache4.asset-cache.net: Winter Storm)

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CARGO THEFT * USA - Texas has the worst rates of cargo and heavy equipment theft

TX,USA -The Texas Tribune, by Reeve Hamilton -December 18, 2009: ... Thieves rolling away with anything from semi-trailer trucks full of electronics to a backhoe on a flatbed — in the country. It also has the worst track record of recovering stolen heavy equipment. At 16 percent, its rate of recovery falls five percentage points below the national average... Despite this, it is the only state reporting significant cargo thefts without an organized law enforcement task force addressing the issue... “Why isn’t Texas doing anything?” ... Retired Dallas police officer Jim Hughes asked at the annual National Cargo Theft Summit in Arlington, VA, this past October... That was in February. Months later, Hughes is part of a two-man team leading the effort to start up the North Texas Commercial Theft Task Force, which would be the first organization in Texas solely dedicated to combatting commercial thefts... Nationally, losses due to cargo theft are estimated to be between $10 billion and $25 billion annually — with Texas leading the way...

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TRUCKING JOBS * USA - Can You Make Money in the Trucking Industry?

Truck drivers earn a generous salary for the level of education required for the job

USA -eHow, by John Hewitt -18 Dec 2009: -- According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), general heavy freight truck drivers earned a median salary of $18.38 per hour in May 2006. The BLS states that the current overall outlook for truck driver employment is "favorable," although there is high competition for the best-paying truck driver jobs... Career Advancement: Beginning truck drivers usually will not be permitted to drive heavy freight trucks. They will be started on lighter trucks and paid a lower salary likely with fewer available benefits. One easier way for truck drivers to break into the industry is to work as an "extra driver," which means acting as a replacement for a more experienced driver who is indisposed due to medical issues or vacation... Maintaining a good driving record, showing up to work on time and completing jobs on schedule are all effective methods for job advancement within the trucking industry. Attending training courses for more advanced equipment also can open higher-paying job opportunities. Becoming an owner-operator of a truck also can earn a truck driver more money, but requires a substantial initial investment in a vehicle and insurance along with the fact that it requires them to constantly search for new jobs...(Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of futureatlas.com)

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Penalties for Truckers * USA - Summit DA adds who don't chain up

Saying existing fines don't do enough to penalize truckers for not chaining up during snowstorms

Summit,CO,USA -The Summit Daily News, by Alex Miller -December 18, 2009: ... Fifth Judicial District Attorney, Mark Hurlbert, said Friday his office is adding an additional penalty. Along with fines of $500 or $1,000, the DA will add a charge of “failing to obey a traffic control device,” which would deduct four points from a trucker's license... Greg Fulton, president of the Colorado Motor Carriers Association representing truckers, said he was shocked to hear about it... As it stands now, Hurlbert said, chain-law non-compliance fines are often paid by the trucking company, not the individual trucker, which has apparently provided little in the way of deterrence. The new charge that carries a point penalty will hopefully do more, Hurlbert said... But Fulton said drivers usually do pay their own fines. He added that, when the State Legislature created the chain-law violation fines last year, there was discussion about assessing points. But that, he said, would only target Colorado truckers, and so the idea was scrapped... (Photo from tinypic)

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Truckers' Training Site * USA - City wants to keep on trucking at landfill site

Battle continues over tractor-trailer driving school at Lopez Canyon

Van Nuys,CAL,USA -The Daily News, By Rick Orlo -18 Dec 2009: -- It began three years ago as a smart way to create jobs in the trucking industry: Use the wide-open space of the shuttered Lopez Canyon landfill as a training school for truck drivers... The battle continued Friday with an overflow hearing pitting neighboring residents against supporters of the truck academy at the Lake View Terrace landfill... The idea behind the plan was to offer a training course to 24 people for four weeks to qualify for a Class-A driver's license to operate big rigs... The proposal calls for a five-year contract, with two possible extensions for a total of 15 years. The academy would be run by a nonprofit and coordinated through the Teamsters Union... Local residents, with the support of L.A. County Supervisor, Michael Antonovich, said the academy is another intrusion into a neighborhood that had to carry more than its fair share of environmental problems for more than 20 years when the landfill was in operation... (Photo from lacitysan.org: Lopez Canyon Landfill)

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TRUCKERS' CLAIM * USA - Tolls will hurt truckers and, thus, consumers in the Bay Area

MTC wants to increase the toll on trucks by 200 percent to 300 percent

Oakland,CAL,USA -The Contra Costa Times, by John Yandell (owner of Yandell Trucking in Oakland) -19 Dec 2009: ... Trucks are only 2 percent of the traffic on the bridges, so does that increase to our industry not seem out of line in today's economic climate? The trucking industry is already laden with devastating regulations from the California Air Resources Board on emissions. Everyone in the industry supports clean air and minimizing their carbon footprint, but the issue we have is the timing to comply is to stringent... At the end of the day, who is going to pay for these dramatic increase on the bridges? The consumers of course... I went to all four public hearings on this issue, and the attendance by the public was very poor. So if they are going to rally before the vote in January, they better get going... (Photo from wikipedia: San Francisco's bridge at night)

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2009-12-19

TRUCKMAKERS' NEWS * WORLDWIDE

* USA - Volkswagen Needs to Sell 100,000 Amaroks to Bring Truck to U.S.

USA -Automobile, by Andrew Peterson -December 17 2009: -- Volkswagen plans on selling its new Amarok pickup truck in Europe and South America, but it seems ever more unlikely that the truck will be sold in North America... PickupTrucks.com sat down with Stefan Jacoby, Volkswagen of America’s president and CEO, who talked about the whopping sales volumes needed to make a North American Amarok a reality. According to Jacoby, VW would have to sell 100,000 Amaroks annually in order to build a business case for the truck... The light trucks manufactured outside of the U.S. (presently, the pickup is built in Argentina)... (Photo from rumors.automobilemag)


* European heavy truck downturn slows in Nov

Stockholm,Sweden -Reuters, by Niklas Pollard & Johannes Hellstrom & Karen Foster -Dec 18, 2009: -- The decline in European heavy-duty truck registrations slowed in November from the previous month as the highly cyclical market for commercial vehicles continued to stabilise, data showed on Friday... The Brussels-based industry association ACEA said in a statement new registrations of heavy trucks fell 37 percent to 12,613 vehicles versus a 20,119 units in the year-ago period, falling for a 19th-month straight but improving on the 57 percent year-on-year fall in October... The deliveries in January through November stood at 156,057 heavy trucks in the 25 European Union member states plus the four states in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), a decline of 47.8 percent year-on-year... The data for European market, dominated by brands like Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Renault, DAF, Iveco, Scania and MAN, is somewhat backward looking since registrations typically lag new orders by a few months... The number of new registrations for light commercial vehicles -- mainly panel vans like the Opel Movano or Citroen Berlingo -- fell by 10.5 percent to 123,376 vehicles in November...


* Russia - Daimler in talks to buy another 6% in Kamaz truck maker


Moscow,Russia -RIA Novosti -December 18, 2009: -- Auto giant Daimler AG is in talks with KamAZ to purchase another 5-6% stake in Russia's largest truck maker, a Russian shareholder said on Friday... The German company acquired the 10% stake from Russian Technology and Troika Dialog, another Kamaz shareholder, in 2008 for $250 million. Daimler is supposed to pay another 50% in 2012 if the Russian producer performs well... In November 2009, Daimler signed two joint-venture agreements with Kamaz to import Fuso Canter truck parts from Japan for assembly in Kamaz, and the other to manufacture Mercedes-Benz Trucks Vostok vehicles...


* India - Tata Motors speeds up on strong global sales

Mumbai,India -India Info Online/Capital Market -Dec 18, 2009: -- Tata Motors rose 2.08% to Rs 725.10 at 10:11 IST after the company reported a 62% jump in its total global vehicle sales to 75,775 units in November 2009 over November 2008... Commercial vehicles sales rose an annual 81% to 33,338 units, while passenger vehicle sales grew by 50% to 42,437 units... In the domestic market, Tata Motors' total vehicle sales jumped 65.49% to 54,108 units in November 2009 over November 2008. In the commercial vehicles segment, November sales in the domestic market stood at 29,408 units, compared with 16,229 units sold in the same month last year, up 81.21%... Tata Motors is engaged in manufacturing and marketing heavy, medium and light commercial vehicles, utility vehicles and passenger cars...


* Belgium - Truck Makers call for Euro6 Delay

Brussels,Belgium -trucklocator -17 Dec 2009: -- Iveco’s Chief Executive Officer, Paolo Monferino, addressing a Brussels event called for Euro 6 implementation to be put back a further two years to allow the truckmakers to recover from the recession and allow them to invest the billions required to meet the standard. He went on to suggest the standard should be reassessed, “in the light of the foreseen negative global warming aspect of vehicles certified to this standard”... Monferino referred to the composition of the commercial vehicle running parc of four of the most significant markets in Europe where, on average, almost half of the vehicles in circulation were older than Euro 3. He called for the European governments to introduce some tax incentives for companies to renew their vehicles – scrappage for trucks...


* South Korea - Hyundai to set up commercial vehicle JV in China

Seoul,SK -Reuters -Dec 20, 2009: -- Hyundai Motor Co said on Sunday it had signed an initial agreement to create a commercial vehicle joint venture with China's Baotou Bei Ben Heavy-Duty Truck Co Ltd with a total investment of USD 400 million... The 50-50 venture with the Chinese truck maker will be launched next year, taking over Baotou Bei Ben's existing large truck business that has an annual capacity of 40,000 units, the South Korean carmaker said in a statement... Hyundai will initially focus on heavy duty trucks with a sales target of 100,000 units in China by 2014 and gradually increase investment to expand its business to include the full line-up of commercial vehicles...

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2009-12-18

TRUCKING TROUBLES * USA - Goldman Sachs Driving YRC Trucking Into Bankruptcy, Hoffa Says

New York,NY,USA -Bloomberg/The Huffington Post -Dec. 17, 2009: -- International Brotherhood of Teamsters President, James Hoffa, said Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is creating derivatives trades that would benefit from the bankruptcy of YRC Worldwide Inc., the trucking company trying to avert failure with a debt exchange... The most profitable securities firm in Wall Street history "is actively soliciting bond trades for clients and underwriting credit-default swaps to benefit from a failed exchange and resulting bankruptcy," Hoffa, the union leader, wrote in a letter dated yesterday to Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein...


* YRC Has Until Yearend to Corral Bondholders, Avert Bankruptcy


New York,NY,USA -Bloomberg, By Shannon D. Harrington & Pierre Paulden -Dec. 18, 2009: -- YRC Worldwide Inc. has less than two weeks to persuade bondholders to accept a debt exchange and prevent a bankruptcy filing that its employees’ union says may force the biggest U.S. trucking company to liquidate... YRC, which has pushed back the deadline for the swap three times this month, must complete the tender by Dec. 31 to avoid a $19 million payment of interest and fees that would leave the trucker in an “unsustainable” position, the Overland Park, Kansas-based company said yesterday in a regulatory filing... Goldman Sachs is trying to repay $10 billion in federal aid it received from the Troubled Asset Relief Program in order to get out from under restrictions President Obama placed on banks receiving TARP funds...


* ANALYSIS - Trucker YRC's struggles mount, rivals set to gain

Overland Park,KN,USA -Reuter/Forbes, by Carey Gillams & Andre Grenon -18 Dec 2009: -- The countdown is on for troubled U.S. trucking giant YRC Worldwide Inc... Industry players doubt it can complete a complicated bond exchange and restructuring, and attention is now turning to how a YRC failure could boost rival trucking companies... The pessimistic view followed word from YRC Thursday that it was falling far short of needed bondholder approval for a $537.8 million debt-to-equity exchange that is the foundation of a financial restructuring essential for YRC's survival... The company acknowledged Thursday it might have only days left before its liquidity becomes "unsustainable." It said it must convince bondholders to swap debt for equity by Dec. 31 to avoid a $19 million payment of interest and fees it cannot meet... The company has said the exchange offer is crucial. Following its completion, the lenders have agreed to defer nearly all of interest and fees, which are about $25 million per quarter, and allow the company access to an existing $106 million revolver reserve...


* ANALYSIS - YRCW Worthless, Credit Suisse Says

New York,NY,USA -Barrons, by Tiernan Ray -December 18, 2009:
-- Credit Suisse analyst Christopher Ceraso, this morning writes of trucker YRC Global that the question is less whether the firm goes bankrupt but how... It is not a foregone conclusion that YRC’s assets will be liquidated if it does go bankrupt, writes Ceraso. In fact, the company’s likely to keep its assets and keep operating right through a bankruptcy filing... It’s most likely YRC fails to consummate its proposed debt-for-equity swap, he believes. However, if two-thirds of the company’s secured lenders approve the exchange, and even a modest number of unsecured creditors buy in, a pre-packaged bankruptcy could be rushed through the courts. In the first scenario, YRC’s offer fails, the stock is worth at most 30 cents; in the case the swap succeeds, the stock is worth zero...

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TRUCKS' MARKETS * USA - New Truck Orders Drop 50 Percent

Sales dive from October to November as 2010 pre-buying ends

New York,NY,USA -The Journal of Commerce Online, by William B. Cassidy -Dec 17, 2009: ... Truck sales ran out of gas in November, dropping 50 percent from October, when new truck orders were jacked up by a federal emissions mandate, ACT Research said... October saw a heavy period of "pre-buying," as companies purchased 2009 model trucks before new, more expensive 2010 models featuring new emissions technology roll out... Year-over-year, heavy truck sales were down 7 percent at 10,550 units in November, said ACT...


* USA - Critical Brand Loyalty Bolstered by Resale Value and Quality. J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Customer Retention Studies released

Westlake Village,CAL,USA -J.D. Power and Associates -10 December 2009: -- Study compares 2009 to 2008 new car buyer attitudes. Resale value (+12%) and quality (+6%) increasingly important for buyers to remain loyal. Appearance and styling also significant factors in customers switching brands... Retaining existing owners is critical to a brand's market success... Resale value and quality high currently reflecting economic concerns... Mercedes-Benz ranks highest in owner retention (67%, up 8% from 2008). Honda (64%) and Toyota (61%) ranked next highest... (Photo from diebold.com)

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TRUCKING INDUSTRY * USA - FedEx’s 2Q Earning Drop 30%

Memphis,TENN,USA -Transport Topics -17 Dec 2009: -- FedEx Corp. said Thursday its second-quarter profit fell 30% to $345 million, or $1.10 per share, from $493 million, or $1.58, a year ago... The earnings were in line with a recent company projection. Revenue for the fiscal quarter ended Nov. 30 fell 10% to $8.6 billion... Less-than-truckload unit FedEx Freight posted an operating loss of $12 million, compared with operating income of $32 million a year ago, while revenue fell 11% to $1.07 billion... Its FedEx Ground unit’s operating income rose 12% to $238 million, while revenue rose 3% to $1.84 billion... The FedEx Express segment’s operating income fell 36% to $345 million, while revenue fell 13% to $5.3 billion... (Photo from JOC: Fedex-airplane MD 11 in Hong Kong)


* DC - Lawmaker Wants USPS to Go Electric


Washington,DC,USA -Transport Topics -17 Dec 2009: --Rep.
Jose E. Serrano (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill Wednesday intended to get the United States Postal Service to switch its huge fleet of light vehicles to electric, partly to help clean up the air and also to help recharge the nation’s electric grid, the Washington Post reported... Serrano’s bill would eventually give $2 billion to the Energy Department and Postal Service to convert current mail trucks or manufacture new ones that use vehicle-to-grid technology or V2G, as it's known... The Postal Service runs about 220,000 vehicles. The fleet travels more than 1.2 billion miles each year and used 121 million gallons of fuel in 2008... The Postal Service already is testing several alternative-fuel vehicles, Sue Brennan, spokeswoman, said, according to the Post... (Photo from goodcleantech: USPS Alt Fuel)


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Tennessee - PROGNOSIS: Trucking industry still struggling

Nashville,TN,USA -The Press Enterprises, by Jack Katzanek -December 8, 2009: -- The trucking industry is still struggling, and a quarterly report indicates it has gotten worse as 2009 went on... Avondale Partners LLC estimated that in the third quarter, about 0.7 percent of the nation's trucking capacity was pulled from the road. That is up from 0.4 percent in the third quarter. The number of companies that pulled at least some big rigs off the road increased from 370 to 405 in from the second quarter to the third... Trucking companies have been hit hard by the recession, from small one- or two-rig operations to large national operations. It doesn't look like it's getting better quickly... Avondale Partners is predicting the first part of 2010 could be the time of reckoning for some of them. That is when a lot of cash payments will come due, for items that run from registration and insurance to the cost of deferred repairs. Those might be the bills that push some of these companies into insolvency...



* Montana - Smurfit-Stone Closure Felt Across

Missoula,Montana,USA -KECI TV, by Maritsa Georgiou -18 December 2009: -- It's been just days since Smurfit-Stone announced it's closing down the Missoula mill, but the ripple effects are being felt far and wide... For one Kalispell trucking business, it means the end of a fifty year run, and no more work for its twenty employees. The company's owner says the domino effect doesn't stop with them... John Jump Truckins is in the wood products business. They pick up wood remnants left behind by loggers. Then, they make wood chips out of it and sell them to companies like Smurfit-Stone. The problem? Smurfit bought 90% of Jump's product... But, the writing was on the wall. Smurfit went into bankruptcy more than a year ago. It cut Jump Trucking's rates and even cut back purchases. The Jumps knew it wasn't looking good... But, then, a week before the closure announcement, Smurfit told Jump Trucking they were coming out of bankruptcy... (Photo from john jump trucking)

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TRUCKMAKERS ' NEWS * USA

* Peterbilt's Models 348, 337 come with new aerodynamic options

Denton,TX,USA -Truck News (CAN) -15 Dec 2009: -- Peterbilt says new fuel-efficiency options for its Model 348 allow it to achieve 12% better fuel mileage than the same truck without the options... The Peterbilt Model 348 is aimed at a wide range of specialty vocations... New options include proprietary roof fariings and aerodynamic mirrors which together direct airflow up, over and around the cab, the company claims. Packaged together, Peterbilt says the options result in a 12% decrease in fuel consumption... The new options are also available for the Model 337, Peterbilt announced. Both the Models 348 and 337 are also available in hybrid-electric configurations for even greater fuel savings... (Image from Peterbilt: Model 348)


* Mercedes-Benz has Sprinter at the starting gate

Montvale, NJ.,USA -Fleet Owner, by Jim Mele -Dec 17, 2009: -- In just five months, Mercedes-Benz USA has put together a dealer, parts and distribution network ready to take over sales and support of the Sprinter commercial van on January 1, according to officials at Daimler AG’s American automotive operation... The current Sprinter is available in cargo van, chassis cab and passenger configurations with a choice of two roof heights and GVWs up to 11,000 lbs. Standard features for the North American market include a 3-liter V6 turbo diesel engine, automatic transmission and advanced electronic stability control. The diesel will be fully compliant with 2010 emissions, using selective catalytic reduction to meet the new Federal regulations... The van will continued to be manufactured at a Daimler plant in Germany and assembled at a dedicated van plant in Charleston, SC.... (Photo from egmcartech: Mercedes Benz sprinter wide main)


* Truck maker Paccar sets 9-cent quarterly dividend

Bellevue,WASH,USA -AP -December 8, 2009: -- Paccar Inc., which makes trucks and truck parts, said Monday its board declared a regular dividend of 9 cents... The company, said it pay the dividend March 5 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 19...


* Pentagon contract saves jobs at Wisconsin truckmaker

Oshkosh,WIS,USA -The Washington Post, by Dana Hedgpeth -December 19, 2009: -- Just as the recession was threatening the Oshkosh Corp. with ruin, a bid to build a 24,700-pound armored truck for the front lines of Afghanistan pitted Oshkosh against much bigger and better-known contractors... Oshkosh won the $3.2 billion deal this summer and hired 600 workers, helping to lower the city's unemployment rate to 7.6 percent this fall from a high of 9.5 percent. And after taking a $1 billion loss in fiscal 2009, the company is on the mend. It landed several other military deals as well, most recently for 400 more armored trucks, and in November reported its first profit from continuing operations after three quarterly losses. It says it expects to be "solidly profitable" next year... (Photo: A Mine Resistant Ambush Protected-ATV or M-ATV is driven on the test grounds at Oshkosh Corporation in Oshkosh, Wis. Oshkosh was awarded a Department of Defense contract to build M-ATVs for use in Afghanistan)

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