User-agent: Mediapartners-Google* Disallow: Trucks World News: December 2008

Dec 31, 2008


Truckers of the world PROSPERITY for 2009 !!!

For all the people in the TRUCKING INDUSTRY have a HAPPY NEW YEAR !!! ...

And for those who manage the world ... simply lets we may arrive to ... !!!

And to our readers... thanks ... and we'll be back with you the next week


Lkw-Fahrer der Welt Wohlstand für 2009!

Für alle Menschen in der TRUCKING haben ein gutes neues Jahr! ...

Und für diejenigen, die Verwaltung der Welt ... einfach können wir erreichen ... !


Dec 25, 2008

STRIKE * India - Truck strike at Chennai

Chennai,India -The JOURNAL of COMMERCE ONLINE -December 24, 2008: -- A strike by truckers at India's Port of Chennai has crippled cargo movements to and from its container terminal, operated by Dubai's DP World... Truckers are protesting delays in commissioning the long-awaited Chennai-Ennore road-connectivity project.
Officials said the disruption has led to a steep build-up of yard inventory, and could congest operations at the private terminal if trucking operations are not immediately restored... As of Wednesday morning, the yard inventory reached nearly 7,000 TEUs, mostly laden import boxes... Talks between state authorities and truck operators' representatives have so far failed to resolve the impasse...


TRUCKMAKERS' NEWS * USA - Navistar To Restate Net Higher On Accounting Mistakes

Warrenville,ILL,USA -December 24, 2008: -- Navistar International Corp. (NAV) will increase previously reported net income for its recently concluded fiscal year by as much as $70 million, saying it overstated costs and undercounted inventories and accounts payable... The truck and bus maker's restatement will boost net income for the nine months ended July 31 by $50 million to $70 million, or 68 cents to 95 cents a share. Navistar had reported net income of $272 million, or $3.68 a share... Navistar said Wednesday it overstated costs of products sold and understated inventories and accounts payable in its truck segment. The company expects to file at least one amended quarterly report before filing its annual report with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The annual filing is set to be made Tuesday...


STUDY Truck Toll * USA - Virginia roads outweighs fees paid

Richmond,VA,USA -The Trucker -24 Dec 2008— A study concludes big trucks take a large bite out of Virginia's highway maintenance budget... Heavy loads hauled by trucks were responsible for $211.4 million in damage to state roads in 2007, while companies paid only $2.7 million in fees for permits to operate in excess of vehicle weight limits... Truck-related road damage represents nearly one-fourth of the state's annual highway maintenance bill... The findings were contained in a study by the Virginia Transportation Research Council at the University of Virginia... The Virginia Department of Transportation has proposed charging overweight trucks $100 for a single-trip permit and $250 for a yearlong, multi-trip permit. Raising the fee will require changing state law... (Photo The Associated Press: Truck-related road damage represents nearly one-fourth of the Virginia's annual highway maintenance bill, according a study by the Virginia Transportation Research Council at the University of Virginia)


TRUCKER HERO * USA - ESPN to feature heroic trucker’s story at bowl game

Alexandria,VA,USA -The Trucker News Services -24 Dec 2008: -- On Dec. 30, millions of people who would not otherwise be familiar with the good deeds performed by the industry’s professional truck drivers will hear about one very special professional driver who bravely plunged into freezing cold water to pull a victim to safety, despite a wind chill factor of 20 below zero... Truckload Carriers Association’s (TCA) first learned about Roach when one of his customers nominated him as a Highway Angel for an incident that took place along I-94 near South Bend, Ind. Roach was driving along his regular truck route at 5 a.m. when he noticed the headlights of the car in front of him suddenly disappeared... Stopping to investigate, Roach found that the car had hit a patch of black ice and was now lying upside down in a water-filled ditch. Braving a wind chill factor of -20, he plunged into the icy water up to his neck, extracted the driver, and carried him up a hill to his warm cab, where together they waited for almost two hours before emergency personnel arrived. After he dried out and made sure the accident victim was safely on his way to the hospital, Roach simply continued on his route as usual, thinking what he had done was “no big deal”... Leonard T. “Lenny” Roach, a professional truck driver for Unisource of Addison, Ill., a professional truck driver for more than 30 years, continues to state he was “just doing what was right.” But both TCA and Roady’s Truck Stops say they believe he is a shining example of how to humanize the trucking industry, helping to improve its image with the general public and providing current or would-be professional truck drivers with the kind of recognition that helps carriers boost driver retention and morale... (Image: Both TCA and Roady’s Truck Stops say they believe Lenny Roach is a shining example of how to humanize the trucking industry, helping to improve its image with the general public and providing current or would-be professional truck drivers with the kind of recognition that helps carriers boost driver retention and morale.)


Snow and Ice Research * USA - Prompts ATA Action Plan

USA -Trailer Body Builders -Dec 23, 2008: -- At the request of American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO Bill Graves, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has completed a comprehensive study of the effects of snow and ice accumulation on vehicles... In regions with significant snowfall, snow and ice can accumulate atop vehicles and can become dislodged. Snow and ice falling from motor vehicles create a variety of safety issues that can result in property damage or injury to other motorists. Based on their findings, ATRI determined that challenges for the trucking industry include the hazards that workers face when manually clearing snow and ice from the tops of trailers, the limited availability and effectiveness of snow removal devices and the lack of available vehicle-based solutions... Graves has issued a “call to action” for ATA to work with the American Automobile Association and other industry partners to create comprehensive solutions to snow- and ice-related safety problems. The multi-stage plan calls for several initiatives, including the education of operators of all types of vehicle, studies of the feasibility of snow-removal devices at weigh stations and ports of entry, and investigating vehicle-based solutions to prevent or reduce snow and ice accumulation...


STUDY: TRUCKERS' HEALTH * USA - Truckers run lung cancer risk

A new study by researchers at UC Berkeley and Harvard claims that trucking industry workers who have been regularly exposed to diesel vehicle exhaust have an elevated risk of lung cancer with each increasing year of work

USA -Fleet Owner, by Justin Carretta -Dec 24, 2008: -- ... Although an elevated risk of lung cancer has long been attributed to diesel exhaust exposure, previous studies specifically implicating diesel exhaust as a carcinogen were limited due to a lack of exposure measurements and work records relating job title to exposure-related job duties, the study’s authors said... On average, the workers studied were hired in their mid-30s and were predominantly Caucasian, lived in the South or Midwest, and worked in the trucking industry for an average of 22 years. There were 4,306 deaths and 779 cases of lung cancer from 1985 through 2000, the report said...


TRUCKING INDUSTRY NEWS * USA - ATA Tonnage Index increases 1.7%

USA -Fleet Owner -Dec 24, 2008: -- The American Trucking Assns.’ (ATA) seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1.7% in November, the first month-to-month improvement since June 2008 after the index contracted a total of 6.3% from June to October... However, ATA warned that the freight outlook remains bleak, as the not seasonally adjusted index fell 15.4% in November. It was also 1.8% lower than November 2007, marking the second straight year-over-year decrease... ATA chief economist Bob Costello, added that he expects freight to further weaken as the economy continues to contract in the first half of 2009...

* Trucking companies, including Veriha and Schneider National, ride out recession in the Fox Valley - Less shipping has translated to slow business

Marinette,WI,USA -The Appleton Post Crescent, by Nathan Phelps -December 24, 2008: -- Yellow tractor units passed through the yard at John Veriha Trucking in Marinette on a gray day in late November... It was another day of business for the family owned trucking company that employs about 320 people... Trucking companies like Veriha and Schneider National have weathered a severe storm that has shaken the industry since late 2006 and has seen about 2,600 companies with five or more trucks leave the business in first three quarters of the year... Despite those grim figures, both firms are investing in their fleet, equipment and businesses to capitalize on the market when the economy turns around...

* Ryder buys assets of New England trucking firm

Miami,FL,USA -The Miami Herald -24 Dec 2008: -- Miami-based Ryder System (R) has agreed to buy the assets of a New England regional trucking company... The new acquisition, Edart Leasing of Hartford, Conn., adds 1,600 trucks and 340 customers to Ryder's business... It was the latest in a series of deals in which Ryder has been buying up smaller trucking firms. One of the largest was Ryder's April agreement to buy the assets of Doral-based Gator Leasing, which had 2,300 trucks and 300 customers... Ryder announced plans last week to cut 700 U.S. jobs and pull out of several Latin American countries...


Dec 24, 2008

TRUCKMAKERS NEWS * USA - Caterpillar Lays Off 814

Mossville,ILL,USA - Traffic World, by John Gallagher -18 Dec 2008: -- Heavy duty truck engine manufacturer Caterpillar is laying off 814 employees at its engine assembly plant in Mossville, Ill., representing more fallout from declining demand for freight transportation in the weak economy. The layoffs will begin Feb. 23... Caterpillar said volumes at the facility dropped sharply in recent months due to reduced demand for on-highway truck engines and engines for Caterpillar construction vehicles... The company said the layoffs are not related to a decision in June to exit the 2010 engine market in the United States to focus instead on heavy-duty trucks outside North America through an alliance with Navistar...


TRUCKMAKERS' NEWS * Australia - Truck-maker's present is 35 job cuts

Bayswater,Australia -The Herald Sun, by Nick Higginbottom -December 23, 2008: -- Dozens of families face a bleak Christmas thanks to the sacking this morning of 35 workers at a truck factory... Staff at PACCAR, a Bayswater plant that makes Kenworth Trucks, will know who is getting the chop at 7am... Her husband almost lost his job earlier this year when the company first wielded the axe... PACCAR Australia said the job cuts were a result of the global economic downturn... Kenworth announced in August it would make up to 80 job cuts, but waited until now to tell the workers who would get the boot... It has also scheduled seven shutdown days coinciding with weekends during January and February, in addition to its Christmas shutdown...


INSPECTIONS * Canada - AG blasts MTO truck enforcement

OBAC questions priorities

Ottawa,ONT,CAN -Today's Trucking -22 Dec 2008: -- Despite spending over $35 million on truck enforcement in 2007-2008, commercial vehicle inspections in Ontario have dropped by 34 percent since 2003, according to the 2008 Auditor General's Report... According to the report, only three out of every 1,000 commercial trucks were subject to a roadside inspection (one or two per officer a day), despite the MTO responding to a 1997 audit that officers must spend a minimum of 50 percent of their time doing road¬side inspections.... Additionally, over 20,000 operators have never applied for the required Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR) certificate, the audit found... However, the auditor did attribute initiatives undertaken by the MTO over the past decade to a 20 percent drop in the collision rate involving commercial trucks... (Photo: OBAC questions how the MTO will enforce speed limiters, when, as the AG states, it has trouble monitoring everything else)


Dec 23, 2008

SPEED LIMITERS * Canada - Truck speed faces cap in Ontario, Quebec

Toronto,ONT,CAN -UPI -Dec. 22, 2008: -- Tractor-trailers traveling in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec must have speed limiters installed after Jan. 1 new laws stipulate... In a joint news release, the Ontario government and the Ontario Trucking Association said all big trucks, regardless of where they come from, must have the devices installed and working to limits speed to 65 mph... The release quoted a Transport Canada federal study showing in Ontario alone, the limiters would save the trucking industry about 2.6 billion gallons of diesel fuel annually and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 280,000 tons annually...


"CLEAN TRUCKS"· PROGRAM * USA - Truckers worry about meeting 2010 truck ban

CAL,USA -Pacific Shipper, by BILL MONGELLUZZO -December 22, 2008: -- Harbor truckers in Los Angeles-Long Beach are looking ahead to Jan. 1, 2010, and they’re getting nervous... Barely a year from now, the nation’s busiest container ports will swing into the next phase of their clean-trucks rules, and banish as many as 12,000 pre-2004 model vehicles unless they are retrofitted to reduce emissions. That total represents 75 percent of the harbor drayage fleet... Trucks built before 1989 already have been banned from the harbor under a program designed to reduce the ports’ air pollution from trucks by 80 percent over the next five years... The second phase of the clean-trucks program calls for banning pre-1994 trucks at the start of 2010 and retrofitting the 1994-2003 trucks with particulate traps. It’s unlikely that motor carriers will be able to replace 12,000 trucks with new vehicles — costing about $100,000 each — during the next year. And as of now, there is no certified retrofit device that will meet the ports’ standards... The situation is raising concern about a possible shortage of trucking capacity in the harbor... (Photo: Thousands of trucks will be banned from the ports 12 months from now and truckers worry about funding replacements)


TRUCKING INDUSTRY NEWS * USA - Jacksonville truckers seeing less cargo as recession takes hold

Jacksonville, USA -The Jacksonville Business Journal, by Mark Szakonyi -December 22, 2008: -- It’s as if someone turned the tap off... The amount of goods and raw materials moved through Jacksonville and the rest of the nation by rail, truck or both became a trickle in October due to decreased demand and many manufacturers’ inability to get credit. The slowdown is even more alarming because October is one of the busiest months for logistics companies as retailers stock up for the holiday season...

* “I’m hearing nothing but gloom and doom,” said Haddon Allen, president of Coastal International Logistics Inc. “It’s going to be a long slog”...

* General Transport Inc. is experiencing a decrease in business, with some customer orders down as much as 60 percent, but the company has stayed afloat because it curbed fleet expansion and has a range of customers.

* Grimes Trucking Co. experienced a decrease in traffic in November but the pace has quickened this month, said Ike Sherlock, the company’s vice president.

* CSX Corp. has also been handling less traffic, with a 3 percent decrease compared with last year, company spokesman Garrick Francis said.

* PenserSC has reduced the amount of trucking it contracts out and kept the orders in-house. Barnett said the seasonal slowdown of about 10 percent between October and November was exacerbated by an additional 20 percent decrease in traffic.

... The next year doesn’t look promising, either. Cargo is expected to drop by about 7 percent compared with 2008, according to a Credit Suisse Group report...
(Photo by James Crichlow - Freight being unloaded for storage at PenserSC’s Northside warehouse. The company has experienced a 20 percent decline in normal seasonal traffic)

* Trucking Forecast Soft in First Half

Washington,DC,USA -Traffic World, by Thomas L. Gallagher -22 Dec 2008: -- Demand for heavy duty trucks and trailers won't return until at least the second half of 2009, says an industry authority... The near-term outlook for the commercial vehicle market suffers from economic weakness that started with the housing sector and spread to consumers and then to businesses, said A.C.T. Research in a recent conference call on the topic... Falling energy prices and the upcoming government stimulus packages should begin to drive recovery by the second half of the year, A.C.T. said. If so, the current reduction of capacity in the U.S. tractor fleet could spur recovery in a tighter supply environment... Demand for trucking equipment fell partly because export volume has declined in recent months as the dollar grew stronger in a weakening global economy. Other causes included freight decline in the less-than-truckload market, where the fixed costs are higher and the consequences harsher than in the truckload sector. Trailer demand is down, too, partly because of better quality trailers that last longer as well as due to lower freight demand...


INFRASTRUCTURES * USA - Long-awaited highway fix to be scrutinized

Eureka,CAL,USA -The Times Standard -21 Dec 2008: -- ... the proposed fix of U.S. Highway 101 near Richardson Grove, a bottleneck that has long kept area businesses at a disadvantage when shipping in and out of the area. Since 1955, a one-mile stretch of highway located in Richardson Grove State Park has been the subject of much debate among transportation officials, local business owners, environmental groups and concerned residents alike... Caltrans recently put forth a proposal to modify that stretch of road to allow standard-sized trucks through what has traditionally been a bottleneck... The move would reduce shipping costs for area businesses, and potentially allow them to better compete and ultimately survive in a tough business climate... But many remain concerned that the changes pose too big of a threat to the flora and fauna of Richardson Grove State Park, and therefore oppose realignment in favor of other, less dramatic fixes -- such as the signalization of that stretch of highway... Caltrans' recently released environmental impact report on the project looks into what the impacts of the project would be on the environment, as well as what some possible alternatives could be... If everything goes as planned and the schedule is finalized, construction will begin in January 2010 and could run until fall of 2010, according to Caltrans Project Manager Kim Floyd...


DANGEROUS TIMES * USA - Cold, Winds Rip Chicagoland

High winds and blowing snow, bitter cold temperatures and wind chills approaching 30 below zero -- that's what's in store for the Chicago area through Monday

Chicago,ILL,USA -WBBA Radio 780-21 December 2008: -- ... The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory and a wind chill advisory for northern Illinois and northwest Indiana. The winter weather advisory will remain in effect and the wind chill advisory until noon Monday... A winter weather advisory means blowing snow will lead to limited visibility. A wind chill advisory means cold air and strong winds will produce wind chills that could lead to frost bite or hypothermia in precautions are not taken, the weather service said... On Sunday, temperatures were expected to top out at 2 degrees, but 40 mile per hour wind gusts created wind chill values as low as minus-30 degrees, the weather service said. Scattered snow and blowing snow was prevalent... The mercury will fall to minus-4 degrees tonight with 35 mph wind gusts that will create wind chill values as low as minus-26 degrees, the weather service said...

* Snow, snow (and plenty of ice) everywhere - Authorities urge motorists in north-central and northeast Iowa stay off roads

Chicago,ILL,USA -CNN -21 Dec 2008: -- Snowstorms and icy conditions on Sunday delayed flights across the northern United States, caused havoc on roads and left thousands without electricity... Authorities urged motorists in north-central and northeast Iowa to stay off roads because of poor visibility caused by blowing snow. Authorities prohibited tow trucks from operating on U.S. Highway 20, near the border with Minnesota, because of concerns the tow trucks would get stuck... Forecasters said wind chills of 20 below and 30 below zero were possible in much of the rest of the Midwest, prompting wind chill advisories and warnings for the region into Monday morning... (Photo: A worker shovels snow as the storm hits Chicago, Illinois)


TRUCKERS' OPINION * USA - They struggle despite lower fuel costs

Asheville,NC,USA -The Asheville CITIZEN-TIMES, by John Boyle -December 21, 2008: ... Diesel fuel runs America's trucking industry, and truckers are relieved to have their fuel bills cut more than in half. But they're not exactly home free and raking in huge profits... “Two months ago, we were hauling loads for $1,000 back into the area from some places,” said Judy Jones, who started Judy Jones Trucking 32 years ago and now operates 20 trucks and 100 trailers... “Now they want us to cut it back to $500 because the fuel is down. Fuel is down, yes, but the salary for drivers is not down, workman's comp is not down, road service costs are not down, groceries have not come down. It hasn't been a boom to the trucking industry at all — nationwide , everybody I talk to in the trucking industry is hurting”... Diesel costs remain stubbornly higher than gasoline, even though the fuel costs less to process than gasoline and for years was considerably cheaper... Gifford noted that federal projections have diesel prices averaging about $2.47 into next year, which is down $1.33 from the 2008 average. That should ease the load on trucking companies in an economy that just keeps producing more bad news... Jones is not as optimistic, though. She points out that for many trucking companies, taxes, insurance and other annual operating costs come due in January... (Photo, by JOHN COUTLAKIS: David Goodwin, 44, pumps diesel into his truck at a a truck stop... " I wish it would go down like gas," said Goodwin. "It's liquid gold.")

* Smaller carriers hard hit by times

Arkansas,AR,USA -The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, by LAURIE WHALEN -December 21, 2008: -- Arkansan Mike Breedlove recently hunkered down at a Flying J truck stop in Denver... The truck driver from Western Grove who has three trucks, reported spending two days in early December waiting for a load that would pay enough to cover a return trip from Colorado... "I can't compete with big business," said Breedlove, 47, owner-operator of Breedlove Trucking. "They can move a truck for practically nothing, but I can't"... While falling fuel prices have kept some financially shaky, smaller carriers from going out of business, the shakeout will continue, according to an October bankruptcy research note from investment bank Avondale Partners... Next quarter's bankruptcy data might include Breedlove, who admits to having fallen out of the good graces of his financiers. The veteran trucker managed to avoid being counted among the 785 carriers that went out of business between July and September, according to the Nashville, Tenn.-based financial brokerage firm... But even though fuel prices have dropped 46 percent since setting a record in mid-July, Breedlove still complained about finding a load that would cover his costs in the beginning of December... Creditors own his equipment, and he needs to make up some missed payments... For several quarters now, truckers with small fleets have struggled to exist in a freight environment fraught with high fuel prices and low demand... Bankruptcy figures this year have hit record highs. The most challenging expense to cover for many small operators has been diesel fuel...


Dec 22, 2008

TRUCKING INDUSTRY NEWS * USA - Trucking Firms Shift Gears

If highways are the veins and arteries of the U.S. economy, then trucks are its lifeblood...

USA -Investor's Gusiness Daily. by J. BONASIA -19 Dec 2008: -- Trucks move most of the nation's raw materials and crops to factories and processing plants. Then trucks transport those finished goods and spare parts to wholesalers and retailers... The trucking industry employs 3.5 million drivers, plus 5 million more support workers. Truckers are known for being fiercely independent. They often live in their tractors for weeks at a time, sacrificing normal lifestyles and straining family relations. Many own and maintain their rigs, choosing to work as outside contractors... The trucking industry is on a pace to record more fleet failures this year than in the previous two years combined, according to the ATA... Upside: Falling fuel prices are giving trucking companies some much-needed relief... Risks: As the recession dampens consumer spending and other activity, demand for trucking services has plunged too...

* Schneider moving into short-haul business at expanded West Memphis hub

Memphis,TEN,USA -The Memphis Business Journal, by Trey Heath -December 19, 2008: -- ... Long-haul specialist Schneider National, Inc., will wet its feet in the Southern region’s short-haul truckload business with the expansion of its West Memphis terminal, adding more than 150 jobs and trucks to the Memphis area... The West Memphis facility will be one of three Schneider terminals which will serve as hubs for the company’s new regional service... Dallas and Houston will also hub the regional service, which allows customers to ship product by truckload anywhere in a 500-mile radius in 24 hours... (Photo COURTESY SCHNEIDER NATIONAL, INC.)


Dec 20, 2008

New emission rules * USA - Hamstring truckers. Harder to keep on trucking

Marysville,CA,USA -Appeal Democrat -December 19, 2008: -- Amid the hype over this week's adoption by the state Air Resources Board of new regulations to curb greenhouse gases, much less attention was given to the ARB's companion action regarding diesel trucks... The trucking industry apparently doesn't dispute the state's claim that diesel exhaust is unhealthy and contributes to air pollution. But truckers complain that added costs will squeeze many companies out of business, and others will leave the state. The industry unsuccessfully requested more time to replace fleets with cleaner vehicles. Complaints like Southern California trucker Mark Binkley's failed to sway the ARB board, which imposed the costly rules on about 400,000 California-licensed vehicles and another 500,000 out-of-state trucks doing business here... Taxpayers also will be saddled with huge costs. Adding insult to injury, the ARB will make $1 billion in subsidies available to truckers to ease the financial pain... The ARB contended that new regulations could save billions of dollars in health care costs. The difference is that while health care savings could occur, the costs to the trucking industry certainly will. Once again, on its own terms and timing, the government has imposed huge costs on the private sector, hoping to improve life, while certainly making life harder in the process...



* FedEx in Good Shape Despite Cost-Cutting

Memphis,TEN,USA -The Memphis Daily News, by ERIC SMITH -Dec 2008: -- The economy dealt a devastating blow to Memphis’ largest employer Thursday as FedEx announced $1 billion in cost reductions – including pay cuts for its top executives – during this fiscal year to cope with plummeting global freight volumes...   FedEx, the world’s second-largest shipper, is making these moves to brace for what company officials say they believe is an economic crisis with no end in sight...   “It’s the worst FedEx has seen since our company began more than 35 years ago,” FedEx CEO Fred Smith said...  Smith , on Jan. 1 will absorb a 20 percent pay cut, while other executives will see cuts between 7.5 percent and 10 percent. But the cuts go beyond the top brass. FedEx is implementing a 5 percent pay cut for all U.S. employees who are “salaried and exempt,” the company said...   FedEx also has enacted job cuts at its FedEx Freight and FedEx Office divisions. Hatfield said deeper job cuts are possible but not probable...   FedEx last week slashed 540 jobs at its trucking businesses, with cuts occurring at locations throughout the U. S., said Maury Lane, a FedEx spokesman...

* Putnam Trucking forced into layoffs

Zanesville,Muskingum County,OH,USA -The Zanesville Times Recorder, by KATHY THOMPSON -December 19, 2008: -- With thousands of jobs being lost across the country this year, Muskingum County has seen it's share...   Putnam Trucking is one of the latest and had to lay off 12 employees in the past few weeks...   According to Ralph Hennessey, the economy is causing havoc on trucking companies across the nation...   "We're not the only ones to see this," Hennessey said. "There have been huge layoffs at bigger companies across the U.S., so I guess we're lucky we've only had to lay off the small number we did"...   Hennessey said his company now has 40 employees, down from the 52 it had earlier in the year...


Stalling Tactics * USA - Port of Long Beach critical of FMC's ones

Long Beach,Cal,USA -Logistics Management, by Patrick Burnson -19 Dec 2008: -- Officials at the Port of Long Beach took little time to respond to the recent decision by the Federal Maritime Commission’s to delay its “Clean Trucks Program" by another 45 days... “This is extremely disappointing,” said Richard D. Steinke, the port’s executive director. “This truck financing fee is a critical, long-planned part of our program"...   The FMC has filed a lawsuit to block portions of the Clean Trucks Program as anti-competitive. Earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon said he would not rule on the FMC’s request for a preliminary injunction until sometime in 2009... “The FMC tactics are clearly intended to stall our program,” said Steinke. “The PortCheck system is urgently needed to monitor compliance with our Clean Trucks air quality, safety and security requirements -- as well as to collect the truck replacement fee"...


TRUCKER'S STORY * USA - $13 billion auto bailout won't help trucker

Victor Pizana's firm did well, and he hired others to work for him - But with many ties to auto industry, he's now trying to avoid bankruptcy

Lansing,Mich,USA -CNN, by Emanuella Grinberg -December 19, 2008: -- The massive injection of funds to the Detroit automakers has come too late to save the American Dream for one man... Victor Pizana began working for GM in Lansing, Michigan, back when they still built Oldsmobiles there, and spent 31 happy years with the company before deciding to cash in his chips and invest in himself... Pizana was one of 35,000 GM workers who took a deal from the automaker in 2006. He took his buyout money, his savings and his high school diploma and started a trucking company named after his grandchildren, Erica and Alex... Pizana started out with one truck and one driver -- his son, Andy, who had encouraged him to start the business... Then the perfect storm hit...   The economy tanked and Pizana lost business when manufacturers cut back runs. Diesel fuel prices soared while Pizana's charges remained the same. An avalanche of bills and threatening phone calls followed and, little by little, Pizana began cutting back, handing over his trucks and firing his drivers until there was nothing left... Earlier this month, a little more than two years after he incorporated E&A LLC, Pizana handed over his last truck to the bank in an attempt to avoid bankruptcy... Now, both men are in a bind. Pizana has lost his personal fortune, his job and the jobs he had created for his son and his friends. GM recently cut his father's benefits, leaving him to search for alternative coverage... Yet Pizana remains reluctant to speak ill of the company that employed him and his father, and that put his own wife and children through college. And while a bailout probably won't help him, he believes that government assistance for GM, Ford and Chrysler would provide a lifeline for the country's languishing middle class -- especially in Michigan, home of the country's highest unemployment rate... Now Pizana divides his time among his truck runs, caring for his ailing father and pursuing ways of putting a dent in his debt... (Photo: Victor Pizana is trying to stave off bankruptcy after setting up his own business with cash from a GM buyout)


Anti-Truck Groups * USA - Ignore Safety Record of New HOS Rules

Washington,DC,USA -PR Newswire (press release - New York,NY) -Dec. 19, 2008: -- A petition that asks the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to reconsider some of the details of the truck drivers' Hours of Service (HOS) rules is ill-advised and raises no new substantive safety issues... A number of anti-truck groups and their allies yesterday asked the FMCSA to reconsider the HOS rules, which have been proven safe in both scientific research and in actual on-road operations over the last four years on American highways, where crash data shows the trucking industry is safer than it has ever been... Whatever HOS rules are in force, their effectiveness will be diminished if drivers do not comply with them. That is why yesterday, as part of the trucking industry's ongoing safety efforts, ATA President and CEO Bill Graves asked the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters to approve new regulations that will require the use of Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs) for motor carriers with a history of failing to comply with Hours of Service rules... By automatically creating an electronic record of the vehicle's travel, EOBRs improve compliance with Hours of Service rules...


Dec 19, 2008

Yes, Detroit, there is a Santa Claus * USA - Auto makers to get more than $17 billion in loans

Washington,DC,USA -MarketWatch, by Christopher Hinton, Ronald D. Orol & Greg Robb -Dec. 19, 2008: -- Ending months of roller-coaster negotiations, President Bush moved Friday to extend $13.4 billion in loans to troubled U.S. auto makers, with another $4 billion likely available in February... Bush, saying failure of the companies was not an option, cited the need to avoid "disorderly liquidation" during an already troubled economic period. he deal could help General Motors Corp. and closely held Chrysler LLC avoid bankruptcy. The administration said the funds are contingent on the companies showing they're financially viable and competitive by the end of March -- otherwise they must pay back the loans in full...


INFRASTRUCTURES * China - Longest China-Russia land cargo transport route opens

A land cargo transport route between northeast China and Russia's Far East opened on Thursday

Ver mapa más grande
Harbin,Heilongjiang,China -Xinhua -Dec. 18, 2008: -- ... More than 10 cargo trucks started the four-hour trip along the 309-km road from Jixi City in Heilongjiang Province to Ussuriysk City in Primorsky of Russia, the longest between the two countries... Jixi is a major industrial and agricultural base in Heilongjiang... The city has a trade logistics center and a wholesale market where Russians buy produce, cement, bricks, decorating materials and daily necessities... Currently the two countries have opened five cargo transport routes and five more are planned to be opened in the coming three years...


TRUCKMAKERS' NEWS * USA - Volvo plans three weeklong shutdowns of Virginia plant

Dublin,VA,USA -AP/WDBJ7 -December 18, 2008: -- Swedish truck and bus maker Volvo AB has scheduled three, weeklong shutdowns of its truck assembly plant in Dublin due to slow sales... Volvo Trucks North America spokesman James A. McNamara said the company laid off about 1,000 workers at the Dublin plant in May and hopes to avoid additional layoffs by halting production during the weeks of Jan. 5, Feb. 16 and March 9...

* Freightliner adds lubricant option

Portland,OR,USA -Fleet Owner -Dec 17, 2008: -- Freightliner Trucks has announced Roadranger Fuel Efficient (FE) 75w-90 synthetic axle lubricant is now available as a factory-installed option on its Cascadia, Coronado, Columbia and Century Class trucks... According to the company, independent research confirmed the lubricant can reduce fuel consumption by more than 1%. It also extends vehicle life by improving operation in extremely low and high temperatures and provides better protection against gear-wear in high-horsepower, high-torque, high-speed, heavy-load and severe applications, Freightliner added...

* Carrier Transicold reduces noise

USA -Fleet Owner -Dec 17, 2008: -- Carrier Transicold has made its X2 series trailer refrigeration units seven decibels quieter by coupling the new V-Force fan with the Stealth 2 option, engineered with vortex-suppression tips that minimize spinning pockets of re-circulating air that result in inefficiency and noise, the company said... Now a standard feature on all X2 series units, the V-Force fan delivers 8% more airflow to the radiator and condenser than a conventional condenser fan, Carrier Transicold said, adding it also reduces the power needed to operate the compressor for both better fuel economy and longer compressor life... In addition, the Stealth 2 noise abatement option adds a tuned intake system to the diesel engine for improved noise suppression and sound quality, achieving a 30-decibel sound reduction for certain frequencies, the company said...


STUDY * USA - Fails to consider new truck emission reductions

Washington,DC,USA -Bulk Transporter-Dec 18, 2008: -- A study of 31,135 trucking workers that indicated they showed an elevated risk of lung cancer with increasing years of work does not accurately portray today’s industry, Glen Kedzie, vice-president and environmental affairs counsel, American Trucking Associations, said in a letter to Bulk Transporter... Kedzie also pointed out that in 2007, diesel trucks incorporated diesel particulate filters to reduce tailpipe emissions of particulate matter by 90 percent... "Today, on-road diesel engines contribute just one percent of the nation's total emissions of volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide and less than 1.5 percent of the nation's total emissions of fine particulate matter"... "Fine particulate emissions from on-road diesel engines have been cut by more than half over the past decade. On-road heavy-duty diesel trucks produce half as much fine particulates as off-road sources, including bulldozers, tractors, railroad locomotives, and ships. Also, it is also important to note that motor carriers voluntarily supplied driver records to these researchers in hopes of finding ways to improve conditions for their highly valued drivers"...


SAFETY ROADS * USA - Troopers In Trucks

Alabama State Troopers agree, for the most part it's aggressive drivers around the trucks that are responsible for the messes

Birmingham,AL,USA -CBS 42 News, by Phillip Ohnemus -18 Dec 2008: -- ... And as Professional Truck Driver Chuck Hallmark points out the public is often too quick to blame the truck driver. "The stats say 8 out of 10 accidents are the cars fault. Yet we seem to get blamed for everything in the press"... As Trooper Charles Dysart explains that's why troopers are now stepping into the cab to help bring a stop to aggressive driving... But don't expect to be pulled over by a big rig, instead troopers riding shotgun will radio ahead and allow cruisers to make the stop... And Hallmark agrees the program will make roads safer. "If you can get a more even balanced reporting on what's going on out there, you'll see what we're going through"... And while Alabama State Troopers are doing all they can to target and eliminate aggressive driving, they can't do it alone. That's why they're asking drivers to utilize their cell phones to call "Star 4-7" and notify them when they see somebody who needs to be pulled over... (Photo: Police Trooper Mirror)


Ports Fee * USA - FMC blocks port’s “Clean Truck” fees

Washington,DC,USA -Logistics Management, by Patrick Burnson -18 Dec 2008: -- Shippers were provided with early holiday cheer yesterday as news came that the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) will reevaluate certain aspects of the Clean Truck Program proposed by the Port of Los Angeles (including elements that the Port Fee Services Agreement would implement)... In a statement, FMC Commissioners Creel and Dye noted that, given the significant changes in the nation's economic situation, they must continue to fulfill the FMC’s statutory obligations to ensure that the agreement will not “unreasonably reduce” competition in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach... FMC spokesmen added that it is working on an up-to-date analysis of the port’s programs, to ensure that foreign trades operate free from substantially anticompetitive activities... Meanwhile, the commission’s request for additional information delays the effectiveness of the Port Fee Services Agreement until 45 days after the parties have submitted the requested information and documents. Accordingly, as the Port Fee Services Agreement is not yet effective, the Shipping Act prohibits the parties from implementing any program pursuant to the authorities contained in the agreement...


Dec 18, 2008

AUTOMAKERS' CRISIS: Stimulus Package * USA - Obama team weighs up to $850 billion economic jolt

Washington,DC,USA –Yahoo News/Associated Press By JIM KUHNHENN -18 Dec 2008: -- President-elect Barack Obama is laying the groundwork for a giant economic stimulus package, possibly $850 billion over two years, in his first test of legislative give and take with Congress... Obama's economic advisers are assembling a recovery plan and reaching out to members of Congress and their staffs. Obama aides cautioned that they have not settled on a specific grand total. But they noted that economists from across the political spectrum have recommended spending similar or even larger amounts to jolt the worsening economy... Obama is promoting a recovery plan that would feature spending on roads and other infrastructure projects, making government buildings energy-efficient, building and renovating schools and adopting environmentally friendly technologies...

* Automakers: Not much more time - Chrysler, Ford idle factories; GM delays new plant

Detroit,Mich,USA -Yahoo News/AP Auto, by Tom Krisher –17 Dec 2008: -- Chrysler is closing all its North American manufacturing plants for at least a month, the starkest move yet taken by U.S. automakers as they anxiously await word about government loans... The shutdown comes as The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Chrysler has restarted talks with General Motors about combining the two ailing automakers... Chrysler, GM and Ford have been taking dramatic steps as they struggle to survive the recession and U.S. sales have dipped to their slowest rate in 26 years. Chrysler and General Motors fear they might not have enough money to pay their bills in a matter of weeks... Attempting to cut costs, GM was halting construction of a plant tied to one of its most important projects, the Volt. Ford also said it will shut down 10 plants for an extra week in January because of sluggish sales... Chrysler said Wednesday it would extend the normal two-week holiday shutdown that begins Friday to at least Jan. 19 at all 30 of its factories due to slumping sales... (AP – In this Sept. 12, 2008 file photo, assembly line robots weld the front cab of Chrysler's new 2009 Dodge) - (Play: Video KVUE-TV Austin,TX,USA)

COMMENT * Automotive industry crisis - the implications for logistics suppliers

USA -Transport Intelligence (London,UK), by Thomas Cullen -15 Dec 2008: -- ... Beyond banking, few sectors have been hit as hard by the global financial/economic crash as the car industry. Such has been the size and the speed of decline in the sector that it has been difficult to keep pace with the fall in sales... So what will be the implications for automotive logistics suppliers? If there is actually going to be a significant level of consolidation then there will be significant repercussions for certain players. For example, Ryder has enormous business with GM in the US. A failure of GM would result in a huge portion of Ryder's contract logistics business disappearing. That is also true for Penske, a key supplier for Ford in North America. However, for many such companies the compensation will be more business with other customers. For example, Toyota is also a large automotive customer for Ryder − and Toyota will be a major beneficiary of any collapse amongst the US 'big three'... Such examples are seen elsewhere around the world. Few major logistics companies are dependent on just one vehicle manufacturer. Within Japan and Western Europe there are examples of logistics companies built around just one vehicle manufacturer, for example Gefco in France, but that is owned by PSA Peugeot Citroen... Oddly, the beneficiaries are easier to identify. Volkswagen Group is emerging as a winner out of the present turmoil and it does a lot of business with German logistics services providers such as DB Schenker and Schnellecke Group. Yet Volkswagen also has a strong policy of diversifying its logistics supplier base so any expansion, for example into the US, is likely to use other more local providers... One effect of more centralisation in the automotive sector might be a decline in the extent of logistics outsourcing. Toyota, for example, owns much of its own logistics infrastructure, including finished vehicle logistics services in the US and a shipping line... One word of caution, though. The automotive sector is a past master of relieving governments of their money. Manufacturers have enormous political influence, not least through trade unions such as the United Auto Workers in the US. In countries such as Germany, France, Italy and Japan, car production is seen as iconic, not just to the economy but to national identity. States such as Sweden, Spain and even China are likely to consider subsidies in order to avoid the effects of assembly plant closures in the regions concerned... Consolidation in the automotive sector is very likely. Just do not think it will be quick or straightforward...