User-agent: Mediapartners-Google* Disallow: Trucks World News: January 2012
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2012-01-28

GREENER TRUCKS * Australia

* Could hydrogen fuel cell trucks drive our sustainable transport future?

Melbourne,VIC,Australia -The Conversation/RMIT University, by Roger Smith - 24 January 2012: -- Truck transport accounts for roughly 25% of energy used in the global transport sector, making it a substantial contributor (2.6%) to worldwide greenhouse gas emissions...  As concerns about greenhouse gas emissions continue to escalate, the introduction of zero-emission technologies within the freight industry is vitally important... Australia has some of the highest road lengths and freight levels per capita in the world. In fact, road freight transport is a $35 billion dollar industry here. Given the sheer size of the Australian land mass, the distance between major cities, and the lack of a feasible rail alternative, road freight is crucial to trade and commerce... With the price of diesel fuel rising considerably in the past decade and the possible expansion of the carbon tax to include fuel for trucks, those in charge of the freight industry worry their industry is under threat. Low-carbon alternatives to the current fleet are needed...   A possible solution to the problem, and one that we’ve been working towards, is the development of hydrogen fuel cells to replace traditional diesel engines in trucks... Hydrogen fuel cells work by taking hydrogen gas (H₂) and combining it with oxygen (O₂) to generate an electrical current (and water and some heat as byproducts)... The hydrogen gas is produced through a process called electrolysis (or breaking down) of water using electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar... A zero-emission solution of this kind (in both hydrogen production and consumption) could play a key role in addressing the environmental, economic and social factors that will influence the sustainability of the truck industry in the future... Electric battery technology is another zero-emission option that could potentially be used in the transport sector (if charged using electricity from renewable sources). But this technology might not currently be suitable for the truck industry due its low energy storage capacity. For example, existing battery technology doesn’t allow trucks to cover the distance from Melbourne to Sydney on one charge... Biofuels, including ethanol, various bio-oils and biodiesel, provide another alternative transport fuel. “Second-generation” biofuels are likely to play some role for transport in future, but the amount of crops and land available for biofuel production will be severely limited... Enough crops and land need to be set aside to supply food for a growing world population, and there are also constraints on available land, water and fertilisers needed to grow “second-generation” fuel crops...

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DRIVERS' SHORTAGE * USA

* Nebraska - Driver Market, Truck Capacity Tightening

Omaha,NEB,USA -The Journal of Commerce Online, by William B. Cassidy -Jan 27, 2012: -- Trucking operator’s annual profit breaks $100 million mark, sales reach $2 billion...  A “challenging” driver market will put more pressure on trucking costs, capacity and pricing in 2012, says truckload carrier Werner Enterprises... The driver market tightened in the fourth quarter of 2011, the Omaha-based company said Thursday. Difficulty hiring enough truck drivers kept Werner’s capacity slightly below its target level of about 7,300 trucks in the latter part of 2011, the company said when announcing its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings and revenue...  Any lack of drivers didn’t slow Werner much last year... For the last quarter, Werner reported a 22 percent increase in net profit to $29.4 million, while revenue rose 10 percent to $507.9 million. In 2010, Werner was the third-largest truckload carrier in the U.S., according to SJ Consulting Group... 

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ACCIDENTS STUDY * USA

* ¡¡¡  Eyes on the road, people ...

(Photo: flickr)
...  But check out this anti-tailgating billboard !!!


* DC - Truck, Bus and Motorcycle Accident Fatalities Increase

Washington,DC,USA -24.7PressRelease/Nagle and Associates -January 28, 2012  -- According to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), in 2010 there was an increase in the amount of accident fatalities involving medium and heavy trucks, buses and motorcycles. In addition, in 2010 deadly rail and pipeline accidents also increased.
 Recently released NTSB data:
- 4,502 motorcycle fatalities in 2010, up from 4,469 in 2009
- Rail accident deaths increased from 742 in 2009 to 813 in 2010
- Truck accident fatalities involving medium and heavy trucks increased from 499 in 2009 to 529 in 2010
- In 2010, there were 44 bus-related deaths, compared to 26 the previous year
- A pipeline accident in San Bruno, California contributed to the amount of pipeline accident fatalities rising from 13 in 2009 to 22 in 2010
 Despite the increase of accident fatalities in certain categories, the NTSB also found that there has actually been a decrease in deadly roadway accidents overall. In 2009, the agency found, there were 33,883 accidents involving passenger cars, vans and light trucks. This number decreased to 32,885 in 2010...  Although this data is encouraging, the NTSB says that the roads should still be much safer.
 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also found that there were fewer motor vehicle fatalities on America's roads in 2010 compared to recent years. According to a study released by the agency:
- Alcohol-related accidents fatalities decreased 4.9 percent in 2010
- The deaths of passengers in vehicle crashes decreased by 1,260
- The amount of fatalities per 100 miles traveled decreased to 1.10, down from 1.15 in 2009...

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EV MAKERS BANKCRUPTCY * USA

* Indiana - A big bet on electric vehicle manufacturing goes bust

(Photo by Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune - This Think City electric car and many others await additional assembly at a plant in Elkhart, Ind.)
Elkhart,IND,USA -Los Angeles Times, by Julie Wernau -January 27, 2012: -- Production of electric vehicles and batteries was supposed to create high-tech jobs in Indiana. Think City and Ener1 set up shop, enticed by government incentives. But soon they filed for bankruptcy... For politicians betting on electric vehicles to drive job growth, the view from inside Think City's plant here is their worst nightmare: 100 unfinished vehicles lined up with no word on whether they will be completed... Only two years ago, the tiny Think cars (two can fit in a regular parking space) were expected to bring more than 400 jobs to this ailing city and a lifeline to suppliers who once made parts for gas-guzzling recreational vehicles... Indiana's foray into electric vehicles is a cautionary tale for states in hot pursuit of high-tech manufacturing jobs. Think's story illustrates how politicians so badly wanted to stimulate job growth that they showered the automaker and the battery supplier with tax benefits and incentives while at the same time failing to determine whether there was a market for the car: a plastic two-seater with a top speed of about 65 mph and a price tag approaching $42,000... The situation is a far cry from what was envisioned in 2009: a bustling plant building cars that would be part of the American dream of a gasoline-free future. Every level of government, from city to state to federal, pledged millions of dollars in incentives and tax benefits to Think, which promised to build those cars...

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TRUCKMAKERS NEWS * USA

* Illinois - Customers Wouldn't Pay Extra for Any Non-Compliance Penalties Imposed on Navistar

Warrenville,ILL,USA -Truckinginfo, by Tom Berg -2 Jan 2012: -- Customers would not see an upcharge if Navistar International has to pay government penalties for producing engines whose emissions exceed the absolute federal limit for nitrogen oxide (NOx), said Jim Hebe, senior vice president of North American sales...  Hebe was commenting on the Environmental Protection Agency's announcement that Navistar might have to pay a penalty for each engine produced that exceeds a limit of 0.2 gram per horsepower-hour for NOx. The penalty would be as much as $1,900 per engine, EPA said...  Navistar now makes 2010-legal diesels which emit as much as 0.5 gram of NOx compared to competitors' engines that meet the 0.2-gram limit. EPA allows the higher amount because of credits Navistar previously earned for producing thousands of engines that were cleaner than required...  Navistar will continue to avoid liquid urea injection into exhaust, the active part of competitors' selective catalytic reduction method, Hebe insisted...


* Wiscosin - Can Oshkosh Corp.’s SandCat give it an edge in developing a new vehicle for the Army and Marines?

Oshkosh,WIS,USA -The Journal Sentinel, by Rick Barrett -Jan. 27, 2012: -- Facing cuts in defense spending, Oshkosh Corp. is gearing up for one of the biggest new military truck contracts on the horizon - worth billions of dollars and eight years of work at the truck maker's factory...  The Army and Marines want thousands of Joint Light Tactical Vehicles that would be a replacement for the military's Humvees...  At least five companies will probably seek the contract, which analysts say could be worth as much as $20 billion...  With defense spending on the decline, the competition will be especially intense...  Oshkosh has built scores of military trucks for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of them are almost considered armored just by their sheer size and weight, while others have had armor added as protection against rocket-propelled grenades and roadside bombs...  Smaller vehicles, including Humvees, are vulnerable. They were designed in the 1980s for a type of warfare that did not include improvised explosive devices...


* Oshkosh - Oshkosh Corp. vs. Carl Icahn: Most Oshkosh directors keep seats; 1 race is close

Oshkosh,WIS,USA -The Associated Press/The Chicago Tribune -January 27, 2012: -- Oshkosh Corp., the truck maker which has been pressed by investor Carl Icahn over the direction of the company and who should sit on its board, said on Friday that most of its directors had won election, although the voting for one director is too close to call... Oshkosh said it believes that at least 12 of its 13 director nominees have been elected, based on the preliminary proxies turned in for its annual meeting on Friday...  Icahn, who holds about 9.5 percent of Oshkosh shares, had proposed a slate of six candidates for the 13-member board. Oshkosh did not identify the director who may not have gotten enough votes to be on the board...


* Wiscosin - Oshkosh profit falls on slow defense sales


Oshkosh,WIS,USA -Associated Press/The Chicago Tribune -January 31, 2012:  --  Truck maker Oshkosh Corp. said Tuesday that its profit fell by nearly two-thirds in its fiscal first quarter on lower sales of some military vehicles and parts... Lower spending by cities, fewer sales to airports and "operational challenges" at a Florida plant hurt sales of fire and other emergency vehicles in the quarter, the company added. It said performance at the Florida plant would improve as the year goes along...  Net income was $38.9 million, or 42 cents per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31 compared with $99.6 million, or $1.09 per share, a year earlier... Excluding expenses related to a proxy fight, currency-exchange losses and tax benefits, the company said it would have earned 41 cents per share...


* Illinois - Caterpillar Bullish On 2012 After Record Fourth Quarter

(Photo: The Cat Vocational Truck, Cat CT660)
Peoria,ILL,USA -Forbes, by Steve Schaefer -26 Jan 2012: -- Fourth-quarter earnings season has shown most companies are still laser-focused on whittling down costs to wring every ounce of profit from sluggish, or nonexistent, revenue growth. Caterpillar is in a different camp though, and after a record-breaking year the heavy equipment make says it expects to add costs in 2012 through increased capital expenditures and R and D.  It may be a bit easier for Caterpillar to be so upbeat after a fiscal year and quarter that were the best in the company’s history. Caterpillar earned $4.9 billion in profit on $60.1 billion in revenue in 2011, up 83% and 41% respectively from the prior year...  The company is not resting on its laurels either, steaming forward with the integration of acquisitions like mining equipment maker Bucyrus and upping its commitment to growth by spending some of the cash it generates...


* Illinois - Hybrid propulsion system to be integrated into Caterpillar transmissions

(Photo: BAE Systems Launches Hybridrive Parallel Propulsion System)
Peoria,Illinois,USA -Fleet Owner -Jan 27, 2012: -- Caterpillar has signed a 20-year agreement with BAE Systems to use BAE’s HybriDrive parallel hybrid propulsion system. Under terms of the agreement, BAE will integrate its HybriDrive into the Cat CX family of transmissions as well as establish an aftermarket field services model using Caterpillar’s global service network... The parallel system, which is in final development, is based on BAE’s HybriDrive series system, currently used in more than 3,800 transit buses worldwide. The system is said to improve fuel economy 30% for heavy-duty truck applications including refuse collection, construction, pickup and delivery, and utility...


* Virginia - Volvo adds 30 hp. to fuel economy model

(Photo: New 455 hp. Volvo D13 engine with available torque ratings of 1,550/1,750 lbs.-ft.)
Dublin,VA,USA -Fleet Owner, by Jim Mele -Jan 26, 2012: -- Volvo Trucks North America is now offering its XE fuel-economy integrated powertrain with a 455 hp. rating... Introduced just last September with a 425 hp. rating, the Class 8 highway package combines Volvo’s D13 heavy-duty diesel with its proprietary I-Shift automated overdrive transmission, rear axle ratings of 2.64 to 2.69, and proprietary powertain control software to deliver a 3% improvement in fuel mileage...  Overall, the integrated powertrain concept is growing in popularity with Volvo customers,  in 2011 80% of its trucks were sold with Volvo diesels and 40% with its automated mechanical I-Shift transmission...


* DC - D.O.E. awards $19 million to Volvo for more fuel-efficient trucks

Washington,DC,USA -EcoSeed, by Jhoanna Frances S. Valdez -January 29, 2012: -- The Department of Energy is awarding Swedish truck maker Volvo Group $19 million to develop more fuel-efficient tractor-trailers and deploy more cutting-edge trucking technologies which the agency says will help boost the competitiveness of the U.S. auto and manufacturing industry...  The five-year funding will be used to improve the freight-moving efficiency of heavy-duty vehicles like the Mack and Volvo Trucks and to reduce greenhouse gases... D.O.E. expects fuel economy increases from 6.5 miles per gallon to 9.75 miles per gallon, which would save long-haul truckers more than $15,000 per truck per year in fuel costs. Fuel economy for trucks is under the agency's SuperTruck program, an initiative aimed at improving heavy-duty truck fuel efficiency by 50 percent...


* Utah - PacLease-CR England Dedicated LNG 1

(Photo: LNG-powered Kenworth T800)
Salt Lake City,UT,USA -flickr -27 Jan 2012:  --  C.R. England Dedicated operates this LNG-powered Kenworth T800 and others in a pilot project by leasing them from PACCAR Leasing (PacLease). By leasing natural gas-powered trucks through PacLease, companies like C.R. England Dedicated can acquire the new technology without having to deal with the maintenance, says Olen Hunter, director of sales for PacLease... The 15-liter, 450-hp Westport GX engine offers low-emissions performance while maintaining equal horsepower, torque and efficiency to diesel-fueled engines. A typical Class 8 truck using the cleaner burning LNG fuel may reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to an estimated 27 percent, compared to a diesel-fueled truck equipped with a 2010 emission-compliant engine...


* Wiscosin - Odyne Systems Delivers Seven Hybrid System Work Trucks Throughout Wisconsin

(Odyne - The New Benchmark in Hybrid Performance)
Waukesha,WIS,USA -Truckinginfo -31 Jan 2012: -- Hybrid system maker Odyne Systems LLC has delivered seven trucks featuring the Odyne advanced plug-in hybrid propulsion system to utilities and municipalities in Wisconsin... Communities and utilities receiving the new technology were partially funded under the Wisconsin Clean Transportation Program, jointly administered through the Wisconsin State Energy Office and the U.S. Department of Energy Wisconsin Clean Cities Program. The new units will deliver fuel efficiency over a conventional truck of up to 50% annually depending on truck use... Odyne hybrid systems are modular and can be applied to a wide range of commercial work vehicles. The technology combines reliable electric power conversion, power control and energy storage technology with Remy advanced electric propulsion motors, modular Johnson Controls lithium-ion battery systems and other robust, automotive quality components...

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VEHICLES RULES & REGULATIONS * USA

* California: Passes new auto emission rules

(Map shows states that have adopted California clean car standards)
San Francisco,CAL,USA -The Associated Press/AJC, by JASON DEAREN -January 27, 2012:  --  Seeking to influence other states and Washington, California air regulators passed sweeping auto emission standards Friday that include a mandate to have 1.4 million electric and hybrid vehicles on state roads by 2025...  The California Air Resources Board unanimously approved the new rules that require that one in seven of the new cars sold in the state in 2025 be an electric or other zero-emission vehicle...  The plan also mandates a 75 percent reduction in smog-forming pollutants by 2025, and a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from today's standards...  Automakers worked with the board and federal regulators on the greenhouse gas mandates in an effort to create one national standard for those pollutants...

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* Philippines - Isuzu dominates light-duty truck market


(Photo: Isuzu N Series small)
Binan,Laguna,Philippines -The Manila Standard Today -27 Jan 2012: -- Isuzu Philippines Corporation chalked up steady sales for its model lineup in 2011, with the Isuzu N-Series light-duty truck topping its segment...  Figures released by the Truck Manufacturers Association and the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippinesshowed that the N-Series took a commanding 69.4% share of Category III, the light-duty commercial truck segment, as the model recorded 1,196 units sold from January to December 2011...  In 2011, commercial vehicles continued to dominate the Philippine automotive industry with a 68.3% advantage over passenger cars, and cementing Isuzus hold on the commercial vehicle segment are the companys Alterra, D-MAX and highly popular Crosswind models...

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2012-01-27

ALTERNATIVE FUELS * USA

* Nevada - Obama pushes energy plan in campaign-style tour

(Photo from REUTERS, by Jason Reed - President Obama arrives at a UPS facility in Las Vegas)
Las Vegas,NEV,USA -Reuters, by Caren Bohan -January 26, 2012: ...  At a stop in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Democratic president sought to counter Republican criticisms of his energy policies as he proposed tax incentives for companies to buy natural gas trucks, which would help build demand for abundant domestic supplies of the fuel...  Increasing domestic natural gas consumption would benefit drillers, as U.S. natural gas prices have fallen sharply because of the growing glut and the relatively warm winter...   Still, oil and gas industry backers have complained that the administration has hindered drilling through slow permitting and a raft of new rules implemented since the 2010 oil spill...


* Which Are Better: Electric Cars or Natural Gas Vehicles?

(Photo: CNG mobile station)
New York,NY,USA -Forbes, by Michael Kanellos -11 Jan 2012: -- The debate has raged for years in alternative transportation. Electric vehicle (EV) advocates claim that the steady improvement in battery technology, the pervasiveness of the grid, and software and services to enable things like high-speed charging will make electrification of at least some portion of the transportation market inevitable... Electric will even play a role in public transportation, argues Proterra, which has created an electric bus for municipal transportation and a complementary high-speed DC charger that can get its 68-passenger behemoths back on the street in 20 minutes or less... CNG advocates, however, claim they have a big advantage on their side: reality. CNG cars already exist and natural gas, thanks to hydraulic fracturing, could remain relatively cheap for some time... Who is right? To be honest, both. EVs and CNG vehicles will percolate into the market over the next ten years depending on the circumstances...  And it could take years for many fleet owners to get over range anxiety. A government agency that needs cars to check out municipal softball fields might be able to get by with electrics, but taxi routes are unpredictable. The passenger that gets in at O’Hare Airport might need to go downtown, or to Northern Indiana... Expect the discussion to go on for years...

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VEHICLES R & D * USA

* N.Y. - Collision in the Making Between Self-Driving Cars and How the World Works

(Photo by Ramin Rahimian/The New York Times - An autonomous car at Google headquarters. Legal scholars and insurance companies, among others, see some hurdles ahead)
New York,NY,USA -The New York Times, by John Markoff -January 23, 2012: -- Even as Google tests its small fleet of self-driving vehicles on California highways, legal scholars and government officials are warning that society has only begun wrestling with the changes that would be required in a system created a century ago to meet the challenge of horseless carriage... As Google has demonstrated, computerized systems that replace human drivers are now largely workable and could greatly limit human error, which causes most of the 33,000 deaths and 1.2 million injuries that now occur each year on the nation’s roads... Such vehicles also hold the potential for greater fuel efficiency and lower emissions — and, more broadly, for restoring the United States’ primacy in the global automobile industry... But questions of legal liability, privacy and insurance regulation have yet to be addressed, and an array of speakers suggested that such challenges might pose far more problems than the technological ones...

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TECHNOLOGY on TRUCKS * USA

* DC - Data Shows Speeding and Log Violations are Main CSA Culprits; Technology Can Help

(Photo courtesy of PeopleNet)
Washington,DC,USA -TruckingInfo, by Jim Beach -20 Jan 2012: -- Electronic logs are touted as a high-tech solution for the two leading violations in the Fatigued Driver BASIC: driver's record of duty status is not current and a log violation in general form and manner...  When the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rolled out its Compliance, Safety, Accountability program in late 2010, a number of carriers were surprised to find a poorer safety rating than they enjoyed under the old SafeStat. Fortunately, for many fleets, the areas where their safety ratings have taken the biggest hit are also areas that are among the easiest to fix, and a variety of technology vendors offer products to help... For instance, if a manager knows that driver A speeds consistently he presents a risk, even if he hasn't been pulled over by law enforcement yet. The same goes for the driver who shows a high level of hard-braking incidents or one who can't keep his logbook straight...


* Michigan - Road Safety Agency Is Urged to Add Expertise in Electronics Systems

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images - Last February, a Toyota technician in California repaired a Camry recalled over the possibility of a sticky accelerator pedal)
Detroit,MICH,USA -The New York Times, by BILL VLASIC -January 18, 2012:  --  A branch of the National Academy of Sciences reported Wednesday that federal safety regulators lack the expertise to monitor vehicles with increasingly sophisticated electronics...  With electronics systems becoming more complex, the agency needs to “gain a stronger understanding” of both the hardware and computer software that automakers are installing in their latest models, the group said...  The National Academy of Sciences was asked to review procedures at N.H.T.S.A. after the agency’s investigation of unintended acceleration of Toyota vehicles and a possible link to electronic-control systems. The Japanese automaker recalled more than eight million vehicles worldwide in 2009 and 2010 to fix sticky accelerator pedals or replace faulty floor mats that Toyota had claimed could cause unintended acceleration...  Members of the science committee said that despite its shortcomings, the safety agency had done all that it was capable of doing to determine why Toyotas were suddenly accelerating out of control and causing serious accidents. They concluded that the agency had correctly closed its investigation after failing to find evidence of defects in Toyota’s electronic throttle systems...


* Trying to Nudge Drowsy Drivers

(Photo: As an option in its 2013 Fusion and Explorer, Ford will offer a technology package intended to keep cars in the center of their lanes on the road)
 New York,NY,USA -The New York Times, by Randall Stross -January 21, 2012: -- A driverless car is not yet ready for the market. But in the meantime, automakers are continuing to market some components of one. The Ford Motor Company announced last month that it would offer “lane-keeping technology” as an option for its 2013 Ford Fusion and Ford Explorer...  When lane-keeping technology works, it can save lives. But it is suited only for certain road conditions, and there are reasons to doubt that it will activate as consistently as it should... Ford’s technology relies on a camera mounted to the rear-view mirror. When the system is switched on and the vehicle is traveling more than 40 miles per hour, it will use the road’s lane markings to sense veering near one edge of the lane or the other. If the turn signal is off, the system will assume that the drift is unintentional and will send a vibration to the steering wheel as a warning...   If the driver doesn’t correct the drift, the software is then supposed to engage the power steering and turn the car back toward the center of the lane...  When all goes well, this will be flat-out wonderful. But the camera may have difficulty detecting the lane markings — when the sun is at a low angle, for example, or during heavy rainfall or on curves. If it fails to see the markings, it simply remains dormant... 
(Photo: The “Driver Alert System” will warn drivers if it detects a weaving pattern associated with drowsiness)

Ford’s new technology package also includes what it calls a “Driver Alert System,” which will provide warnings when the software detects a pattern of driving associated with drowsiness, such as weaving within the lane boundaries... As humans, we have one thing that works in our favor while driving: we are more likely to handle unexpected events successfully than the software in an autonomous car...

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ENGINE MAKERS * USA

* Arkansas - Detroit Diesel delivers 100,000th DD engine

Texarcana,ARK,USA -Truck News (CAN) -Jan 23, 2012: -- Southern Refrigerated Transport has received delivery of Detroit Diesel's 100,000th engine built under the DD platform... The milestone engine was delivered in a Freightliner Cascadia on Jan. 19... Southern Refrigerated is owned by Covenant Transportation Group, which is a longtime Daimler customer with more than 70% of its fleet comprised of Freightliner tractors with Detroit engines...

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TRUCKMAKERS NEWS * USA

* New U.S. Car Plants Signal Renewal for Manufacturing

(Photo Bloomberg News: Auto makers are expanding U.S. plants. In Smyrna, Tenn., shown, Nissan will build a new luxury car for export)
New York,NY,USA -The WSJ, by Neal E. Boudette/Chester Dawson in Tokyo -January 26, 2012: -- Not so long ago, the U.S. was considered a high-cost place for making automobiles...  But helped by favorable foreign exchange rates, and an ample supply of affordable labor, the U.S. has emerged as a surprisingly competitive producer of cars and trucks, and a favored location for making vehicles to be exported to markets around the world—especially for Japan's big three auto makers...   Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. are ramping up capacity in their U.S. plants with the intention of shipping U.S.-made models to Europe, Korea, the Middle East and other parts of the world... The trend of foreign auto makers increasing output in the U.S. could help give the American economy an additional shot in the arm as the rebounding Detroit auto makers ramp up investments in Midwest plants. General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC have said they will spend more than $15 billion to expand their U.S. operations... German auto makers, which are hindered by the euro's strength against the dollar, are moving in the same direction. Volkswagen AG just opened a new plant in Tennessee and is considering building a second to produce Audi vehicles. BMW AG is expanding its plant in South Carolina, which already exports to markets world-wide, while Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz unit is considering adding a second U.S. plant to one it already has in Alabama...


* Washington - Kenworth introduces hands-free communication system

Kirkland,WASH,USA -Truck News (CAN) -Jan 23, 2012: -- In an effort to reduce distracted driving and comply with hands-free calling legislation for drivers in both Canada and the US, Kenworth has announced the introduction of its NavPlus multi-function communication system...  NavPlus offers hands-free phone capability, true-truck navigation, iPod and MP3 integration, diagnostics, gauges, camera inputs and a host of other features. NavPlus is standard equipment on Kenworth Class 8 trucks ordered with the premium interior package, and is available as an option on all Kenworth trucks...  Kenworth officials also said the NavPlus can remember and work with up to 10 Bluetooth devices, since many trucks are used in slip seat operations, or with driver teams...

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TRUCK BODY MANUFACTURER FINED * USA

* Pennsylvania - Berks-based truck maker fined for safety violations at Georgia plant

Caernarvon Township,Berks County,PENN,USA -The Reading Eagle -26 Jan 2012: -- A Berks County truck body manufacturer has been fined $93,000 by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration for health and safety violations at a plant it operates in Rydal, Ga... Morgan Corp., doing business as Morgan Truck Body, was cited for 24 violations after a July inspection at the Georgia plant... OSHA said the Georgia plant makes and assembles heavy duty truck bodies for Home Depot, Lowe's, UPS, FedEx and Ryder Truck Rental...

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2012-01-26

* USA - To Develop Global Strategy for Supply Chain Security

* DC - Homeland Security chief says goods need to move more efficiently, securely

Washington,DC,USA -The Journal of Commerce Online, by R.G. Edmonson -Jan 25, 2012: -- The U.S. will develop a global supply chain strategy that allows goods to move efficiently and securely, and encourages development of resiliency in the supply chain to mitigate the effects of a terrorist attack, Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, said Wednesday... The national supply chain security has been in the works for two years and supplants a strategy set in 2007. If carried out, it could be a significant basis for the government’s future supply chain security efforts...  Napolitano said that the federal government will encourage security efforts on the part of state and local governments. DHS and the State Department will spend the next six months meeting with foreign officials and leaders in the private sector to develop specific steps to take in reaching the goals...

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TRUCKING INDUSTRY NEWS * USA

* Washington - Teamsters Clash Over Owner-Operator Bill proposed in Washington state, would classify owner-operators as employees

Olympia,WASH,USA -The Journal of Commerce Online, by Bill Mongelluzzo -Jan 25, 2012: -- The harbor trucking industry is clashing with the Teamsters union over a bill before the Washington state legislature that would classify owner-operators as employees rather than as independent contractors... The bill is similar to legislation introduced last year in California. That bill was placed in the “inactive file” last summer when it failed to progress, but since California legislation can continue on for two years, it could be resurrected at any time this year... Generally, the drayage truck driver classification issue is part of the Teamsters’ strategy to organize drivers at ports across the country. Unions can not organize independent contractors, but if truck drivers are classified as employees of harbor trucking companies, the Teamsters could legally organize the drivers...  The Washington Trucking Association, which opposes classifying drayage truck drivers as employees, told a legislative committee Tuesday in Olympia, Wash., that the bill would violate federal preemption law...


* Kansas - Court Plans Hearing on YRC Worldwide Class Action Settlement

Overland Park,KS,USA -The Journal of Commerce Online, by William B. Cassidy -Jan 23, 2012: -- Trucking giant would set up $6.5 million fund to settle ERISA lawsuit... The U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas will hold a fairness hearing March 6 to determine whether the proposed settlement is “fair, reasonable and adequate” ...   The lawsuit and settlement are part of the aftermath of the $4.3 billion trucking operator’s severe losses in the years prior to its restructuring last July...  The class action lawsuit, recognized by the court in 2010, claimed YRC Worldwide violated federal law in its management of employee’s 401(k) retirement plans...  The litigation alleged the carrier broke the law by allowing the plans to purchase and hold its stock at a time when it was “unsuitable and imprudent investment.” In the settlement, YRC Worldwide denied any wrongdoing but agreed to the proposed settlement to “eliminate the burden and expense of further litigation” ...

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Pay Back State Aid * Europe

* Belgium - EU Orders Deutsche Post to return up to $1.3 billion to German government

(Photo: DHL / Trojan Horse) 
Brussels,Belgium -The Journal of Commerce Online, by Bruce Barnard -Jan 25, 2012: -- European Union trust busters ordered Deutsche Post to pay back up to $1.3 billion in aid from the German government that breached the bloc’s competition rules... Germany’s former postal monopoly benefited from a combination of highly regulated prices and pension relief subsidies. This gave the carrier an economic advantage over private rivals, especially in sectors like parcel delivery where it faces strong competition, the European Commission said...  Deutsche Post, which expanded into transport and logistics and owns DHL Express, should refund “incompatible aid in the range of $650 million-$1.3 billion,” the Commission ruled. But the company can retain $7.3 billion of government aid granted between 1990 and 1995 for operating a universal postal service...  The EU’s executive also ordered Belgium’s bpost, jointly owned by CVC Capital Partners and the Belgium government, to refund $542 million of illegal state aid...  The Commission also approved $2.5 billion government aid to France’s La Poste and $68 million to Hellenic Post of Greece...  The rulings close a five-year investigation into state aid to mail operators that was initially triggered by a complaint by UPS.

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Hours Of Service * USA

* DC - Public Citizen, FMCSA dismiss current HOS lawsuit

Washington,DC,USA -Land Line, by Jami Jones -Jan. 24, 2012: -- The latest skirmish in the hours-of-service war has drawn to a close. The parties in the latest lawsuit challenging the regulation have agreed to dismiss the lawsuit... In a joint motion to dismiss filed on Monday, Jan. 23, Public Citizen, Teamsters, Advocates for Highway Safety, Truck Safety Coalition and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration agreed to dismiss the lawsuit... But that doesn’t necessarily mean HOS is in the clear... The reason for the dismissal is that the regulation being challenged in the lawsuit no longer exists... The changes made by FMCSA – altering 34-hour restart and mandating breaks – were enough to make the current lawsuit a moot point... With the dismissal, the only course of action left for the plaintiffs to take a run at the 11th hour of driving is to file suit again...

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EOBR * USA

* Illinois - FMCSA ordered to respond to request for cease and desist on EOBR policies


Chicago,ILL,USA -Land Line, by Jami Jones -24 Jan 2012: -- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has less than two weeks to respond to a cease-and-desist motion filed by OOIDA seeking a stop to the agency’s continued policies and practices regarding electronic on-board recorders...  Judge, Diane P. Wood, with the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ordered FMCSA to file a response to OOIDA’s motion for a specific mandate directing FMCSA to cease and desist by Feb. 6...  OOIDA filed the motion on Jan. 19, nearly five months after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit tossed the electronic on-board recorder regulation...  The motion asks the court to issue a mandate ordering the FMCSA to cease and desist from authorizing, sanctioning or in any way encouraging the use of electronic monitoring devices until the agency has promulgated regulations that ensure that such devices will not be used to harass drivers...

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2012-01-25

ENGINE MAKERS * USA

* Indiana - Cummins: ISX12 engine can deliver up to 12% fuel economy improvement. Full production of the engine begins in March.

Columbus,IND,USA -Penton Media/Fleet Owner -Jan 24, 2012: -- Cummins announced its new ISX12 heavy-duty engine with optimized calibrations can deliver up to a 12% improvement in fuel economy over the ISX11.9 engine in some applications... Cummins said the engine delivers as much as 12% improvement in vocational applications and up to 5% when used in regional applications... The ISX12 is designed to work in rigorous duty cycles, including dump and mixer trucks, and refuse applications, Cummins said...  It comes with the Cummins aftertreatment system with selective catalytic reduction technology... In addition to vocational applications, the ISX12 is suited for regional hauling and LTL distribution operations running Class 8 daycabs, Cummins said...

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TRUCKS SAFETY CHECKS * South Africa

* South Africa - Putting safety first for the big long-haulers

(Photo: Scania plant)
Johannesburg,SA -BizCommunity -24 Jan 2012: -- Scania SA's initiative of setting up of a series of roadside safety checks on trucks, buses and their drivers during the festive season, proved an unqualified success...  This was a joint venture between the Department of Transport's Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), Scania, Pick n Pay and a health and safety company, Reality...  The RTMC provided 10 traffic officers who spent a week undergoing specialised training at the Gerotek test facility, near Pretoria, prior to the start of the programme...  The checkpoints were set up at Grasmere, Heidelberg, Middelburg, Bela Bela and Monsol. Where multiple checkpoints were established they were in different directions and often at different venues, which were usually fuel stations or weighbridges. The checks were not limited to Scania products, but involved all makes and models...  The opportunity was also taken to test the drivers for hypertension (high blood pressure), HIV/AIDS and sugar diabetes. Medical staff were on hand to provide counselling, which was welcomed by the drivers...

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TAX POLICIES * UK

* UK - Foreign trucks must pay for using UK roads

London,EN,UK -Commercial Motor, by Hayley Pink -25 January 2012:  -- Foreign trucks could face a £10 per day charge to use UK roads under government plans to introduce a lorry road user charge...  In a consultation to be announced later today, the Department for Transport (DfT) will reveal details of the scheme intended to level the playing field between foreign hauliers and British hauliers, who are already required to pay charges for using roads in mainland Europe...  In contrast, UK-registered HGVs pay charges or tolls in most other European countries, for example, a lorry doing a two-day return trip from the UK to the Netherlands pays 16 Euros in user charges...


* UK - Plans to Compensate Domestic Truckers for Road-Usage Levy

London,EN,UK -Bloomberg (USA), by Gonzalo Vina -Jan 25, 2012: -- Britain’s government will compensate owners of U.K.-registered trucks who will face a daily charge of as much as 10 pounds ($15.6) to use their vehicles by 2015, Transport Minister, Mike Penning, said...  The U.K. is seeking ways to charge foreign hauliers to use Britain’s roads without hurting U.K. lorry drivers. European Union rules prevent the U.K. from charging only trucks with foreign plates. About 1.5 million trips a year are made by such vehicles... “We want to ensure that U.K. hauliers get a fairer deal and help maintain the competitiveness of our logistics industry,” Penning said in a statement released by his office in London today...

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TRUCKING PROGNOSIS * Europe

* Belgium - Hauliers risk collapse from lack of fuel efficiency

Brussels,Belgium -Commercial Motor, by Christopher Walton -25 January 2012: -- One-in-seven haulage and logistics firms throughout Europe believe they will go out of business within eight years unless action is taken to improve fuel efficiency... According to a survey of 400 fleet and transport managers conducted by Goodyear Dunlop, operators are struggling to keep up with EU emissions regulations and lack funds to invest in fuel-efficient technology...  The survey also found that some operators were already stretched to their limits by the European Commission's target of a 20% reduction in CO2 by 2020. More than half (52%) of respondents said their vehicle parc could not achieve CO2 reductions of more that 10%...  Geoff Dunning, Road Haulage Association chief executive, says the pressure for action over emissions will only increase, but it was up to operators' customers to pay for the carbon cost as much as the transport cost...

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