User-agent: Mediapartners-Google* Disallow: Trucks World News: February 2010

Feb 28, 2010

STIMULUS FUNDS * Sweden * Tries Venture Capital Approach to Salvage Auto Industry

Stockholm,Sweden -Bloomberg/Business Week, by Ola Kinnander/David Risser & Kenneth Wong -February 26, 2010: -- A venture-capital firm created by the Swedish government to revitalize the country’s struggling auto industry aims to make at least a dozen investments this year as private-equity firms withhold financing... More than 50 companies have come to Fouriertransform AB looking for money, and the firm plans to look proactively for targets, Chief Executive Officer, Per Nordberg, said. Fouriertransform made its first investment in October and wants to buy stakes in one or two companies a month, he said... Fouriertransform received 3 billion kronor ($419 million) last year and has funneled a total of 260 million kronor to four private companies and NovaCast Technologies AB, a publicly traded manufacturer of tool and die products for car parts. The approach fills a void created by the reluctance of private- equity companies to make automotive investments... In Sweden, as many as 40,000 automotive workers out of a pre-crisis 140,000 have lost their jobs, according to Aleksandar Zuza, an auto analyst at IF Metall, the industry’s main union. About half the losses have been at suppliers, he said. Truckmaker Volvo AB has trimmed positions, as have Volvo Cars and Saab Automobile...


TRUCKING INDUSTRY * USA - Oregon eyeing Mesilla, Cascade Sierra Solutions on energy tax credits

Portland,OR,USA -Fleet Owner, by Wendy Leavitt -26 Feb 2010: -- Oregon officials are investigating Texas-based Mesilla Valley Transportation to determine if the carrier took unfair advantage of the state’s Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) program, which is intended to assist companies that provide jobs in Oregon, generate “substantial energy savings,” and operate vehicles on state highways... The Oregonian newspaper broke the story earlier this week, citing investigations of its own into the fleet’s operations... Report stated that Mesilla (which currently lists 817 trucks as Oregon- based) received final approval for 752 separate tax credits between 2007 and 2009, worth some $4.5 million. The credits were used to help outfit its truck fleet with fuel-saving devices; they represent two-thirds of the total tax incentives awarded for trucks during that period. The real sticking point, according to the newspaper, is the fleet apparently operates “only a tiny fraction” of their total miles in Oregon... The newspaper also called into question the role of Cascade Sierra Solutions (CSS), which helped Mesilla access the tax credits to finance the vehicle upgrades. Both Mesilla and CSS have stated that they operated within program guidelines... (Photo from m-v-t.: used trucks)


Feb 27, 2010

SURVEY * USA - State DOTs favoring social media for alerts

Washington,DC,USA -Fleet Owner -Feb 26, 2010: -- A new survey by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' (AASHTO) of 32 state Departments of Transportation (DOT) agencies found that 26 states (81%) are now using Twitter to communicate with travelers when major traffic incidents or severe weather such as snow storms, hurricanes and tornadoes force road closures or detours... Further, almost half of all the states surveyed (14) have an active Facebook page, with 23 state DOTs using video on their website, while 18 states having an active YouTube channel. Since the survey was completed, at least three other states have also begun to use Twitter, AASHTO said... Overall, state DOTs are finding that social media are decidedly more efficient in reaching the public with time-sensitive traffic and travel information, according AASHTO’s survey. Among the various new social media tools, respondents found Twitter (65%), RSS feeds (56%), podcasts (18%) and Facebook (13%) to be the most effective method to reach their primary audiences...


TRANSPORT FUNDS * USA - DOT to shut down on Tuesday

* Oberstar Says Senator’s Action Threatens DOT Shutdown

Washington,DC,USA -Transport Topics -26 Feb 2010: -- A procedural maneuver in the U.S. Senate that blocked passage a long-term extension of federal highway funding could shut down several Department of Transportation agencies, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, beginning Tuesday, Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) said Friday... He said in a hastily arranged news conference that in a “rather arbitrary and willful action,” Sen. James Bunning (R-Ky.) failed to join the rest of the Senate in giving unanimous consent to a bill to reauthorize funding for federal highway programs though Dec. 31... Oberstar said that as a result, an estimated 4,000 employees working for FMCSA, the Federal Highway Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could be furloughed starting Tuesday... States also would not be reimbursed for their share of federal highway funds, he said... Oberstar said Bunning also threatened to filibuster the bill and that the Senate had to adjourn Friday because senators could not find a way to counter Bunning’s actions... (Photo: DOT Building,Wash,DC)

* Senate face-off could close highway, trucking, safety units

The Journal of Commerce Online, by John D. Boyd -Feb 26, 2010: ... The transportation funding is attached to a jobs bill the Senate passed this week, but the House of Representatives sent back a narrowed version due to a dispute over highway funding formulas... The Senate then deadlocked late Thursday after Bunning refused to give his consent for passage by a small group of senators, as he insisted that the jobs bill be paid for out of stimulus funds or some other means to avoid swelling the deficit. The full Senate could override his objection when normal voting resumes Tuesday...

* Land Line Magazine -Feb. 26, 2010: ... The Highway Trust Fund has been surviving on a series of short-term extensions since the surface transportation law known as SAFETEA-LU technically expired in September 2009... The U.S. House and Senate have been under tremendous pressure to extend the provisions of SAFETEA-LU beyond Sunday’s deadline... U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, asked his colleagues on Friday to lend unanimous consent to a 30-day extension for highway programs offered by the House, but Sen. Jim Bunning, R-KY, did not consent, citing the fiscal ramifications of the $10 billion cost. Bunning’s threat of filibuster caused Reid to adjourn the Senate on Friday for the weekend. Senators are scheduled to return Tuesday with the matter only baby steps closer to resolution... Oberstar said Friday that in order to get the DOT back to work as soon as possible, he would lend his support in the House to passing the $15 billion Senate version of jobs legislation, HR2847... The jobs bill contains a provision for shoring up the Highway Trust Fund through the end of 2010. The House originally wanted the highway extension to last only through Sept. 30 as lawmakers work on a five- or six-year highway bill...


Feb 26, 2010

CARGO THIEVES * USA - Highway hijackers target truckers' loot

Indianapolis,IND,USA -The Indianapolis Star, by Bruce C. Smith -25 Feb 2010: -- As truck driver Richard Miller curled up to sleep in his cab after a cross-country trip to Indianapolis, two ski-masked men tossed him out of his truck, beat him and drove off with his trailer full of liquor... The brazen October hijacking of $300,000 worth of scotch and rum intended for an Indianapolis wholesaler is among a growing wave of cargo thefts in Indiana and across the nation... At least 859 truckloads worth nearly half a billion dollars were stolen in the United States last year, up 12% from 2008, according to logistics security firm FreightWatch International.. Sleep wasn't possible, however, for Richard Miller the night he was rousted from his truck by thieves as he waited outside National Wine and Spirits in Indianapolis to make a delivery... Miller is back at work now after recovering from being pistol-whipped. His truckload of liquor was found in Chicago. And authorities have identified two persons of interest.. But the trucking company that owned Miller's rig isn't resting easy... (Photo by Kathy Johnson, AP - Truck drivers fuel their rigs on Jan. 18 at a truck stop south of Rawlins, Wyo. At least 859 truckloads worth nearly half a billion dollars were stolen in the USA last year)



* USA - TI Sees trucking recovery

Demand in the trucking industry is improving as downsizing and the failures of smaller companies have paved the way for existing trucks to carry more freight

NewYork,NY,USA -Business Week -February 25, 2010: ... KeyBanc Capital Markets' analyst, Todd C. Fowler, said earnings will possibly grow because of the current shift. Fowler added that demand now seems to be improving as well... That's good news for the trucking industry and the overall economy, because when the trucking industry shows improving demand, it means more manufacturers are making goods and more retailers are ordering them... Fowler said industry volumes are improving this quarter beyond his initial expectations, as more retailers stock store shelves on encouragement from a better-than-expected holiday season... Adding to the spur in demand are reports of fleet downsizing, which is good news for remaining truckers because it reduces competition for freight... Fowler said some of his contacts are reporting that truck supply could come into balance with demand as early as next quarter. Trucking demand hasn't outpaced supply in over three years, when the first signs of a recession surfaced... (Photo by Monica Almeida/NYTimes: Truck at Los Angeles port)

* USA - 1.8% Growth Predicted For US Freight Market In 2010 - United States Freight Transport Report Q2 2010

Washington,DC,USA -Official Spin/Companies and & OfficialWire (London,UK) -February 25, 2010: ... Road haulage freight traffic grew quite strongly in 2002, and maintained a slightly slower but steady expansion thereafter until 2008. Prior to the economic slowdown, the constraints have been to do with road congestion and a lack of haulage capacity, but although environmental standards will become more demanding, we do not envisage federal action to impose major new road taxes. We expect truck cargo traffic to grow at a 1.6% annual average to 2014...

* USA - Disconnect seen between freight and equipment trends

New York,NY,USA -Fleet Owner, by Sean Kilcarr -Feb 25, 2010: -- Despite a continuing uptick in freight volumes, most analysts still remain cautious about the trucking industry’s prospects for 2010 – especially given a growing disconnect between freight levels and commercial equipment orders... On the freight side, the American Trucking Assns. (ATA) reported that its for-hire truck tonnage index jumped 3.1% in January, following a 1.3% increase in December 2009. Compared with January 2009, the tonnage index surged 5.7% – marking the best year-over-year reading since January 2005... The same concerns are prevalent on the trailer side of the industry’s equipment ledger, said ACT’s Vieth. January 2010 commercial trailer net orders were up 10% from January 2008 and relatively consistent with weak recent trends, he noted, but performance within individual trailer segments varied widely from strong to weak... Flatbed and heavy lowbed markets, both closely tied to the construction sector, posted very weak net orders, added Vieth, with reefer trailers along with tank and dump trailers posting stronger net order numbers in January...


CLEAN TRUCKS * USA - Clearing the Air at American Ports

New York,NY,USA -The New York Times, by STEVEN GREENHOUSE -February 25, 2010: -- The Teamsters union and environmental activists have formed an unlikely and outspoken alliance aiming to clear the air in American ports, and perhaps bolster the Teamsters’ ranks in the process... The labor-green alliance is getting under the trucking industry’s skin by asserting that short-haul trucking companies working in ports — and not the truck drivers, who are often considered independent contractors — should spend the billions needed to buy new, low-emission rigs that can cost $100,000 to $175,000 each... The Teamsters union says seaport air is so dirty largely because port truck drivers earn too little to buy trucks that would belch out fewer diesel particulates, tiny particles that contribute to cancer and asthma. Working with environmentalists, the union helped persuade the Port of Los Angeles to adopt a far-reaching plan that bars old trucks from hauling cargo from the port and puts the burden of buying new vehicles on the trucking companies, not the drivers... The battle has intensified as federal officials press ports to adhere to clean-air regulations. Seaports from Newark to Miami to Seattle are confronting the same issue: who should pay for the cleaner trucks? ... Michael Fox, president of a trucking firm in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., opposes any mandate that companies treat drivers as employees... “It’s just a bad idea to dictate that you can only do business one way,” said Mr. Fox... With the injunction in force, some companies that hired drivers as $18-an-hour employees now employ them as independent contractors... Once again, many drivers are rushing to haul as many loads as they can each week, although they often wait for two unpaid hours to pick up loads. Many say they now earn $8 to $10 an hour. Mr. Holmes and many environmentalists ask who will buy the next generation of trucks in five years if it is left to the drivers... (Picture by Monica Almeida/The New York Times - The Port of Los Angeles has put the burden of buying new vehicles on carriers, not drivers. New trucks can cost $100,000 to $175,000 each)


ALTERNATIVE FUELS * USA - Clean Energy Fuels Expands Network

Growing from two harbor LNG fueling stations to the whole southwest

Los Angeles,CAL,USA -The Journal of Commerce Online, by Bill Mongelluzzo -Feb 24, 2010: -- Clean Energy Fuels Corp. is expanding its network of liquefied natural gas fueling stations from its base at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to eventually reach freight distribution hubs throughout the Southwest United States... Promotion of alternative-fuel vehicles, such as those powered by liquefied natural gas, is one of the goals of the Los Angeles-Long Beach clean-truck programs... The company is now expanding its network of fueling stations to include other California cities such as Los Angeles, Commerce, Industry, Fontana, Riverside, Tulare, Barstow and Otay Mesa/San Diego. Clean Energy is establishing an LNG corridor serving freight distribution hubs throughout the region... Clean Energy plans to further expand its LNG fueling corridor to include Northern California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah, said Andrew Littlefair, president and chief executive officer... (Photo from clean energy fuels: Stations)

* California - Pickens' Plan to Convert Heavy Trucks to Natural Gas

San Francisco,CA,USA -Search Auto Parts -February 22, 2010: -- T. Boone Pickens Plan targets 18-wheel vehicles on the road, shifting them to natural gas in 7 years. This would cut in half the amount of oil imported... Infrastructure needed to support natural gas-powered vehicles would come w/ the vehicles hitting the market... Pickens says there will be legislation before federal government by Memorial Day. Legislation could provide tax credits for buying new natural-gas powered vehicles... Pickens says 18-wheelers on the road is perfect place to start... Said if changes not made, within 10 years America will import 75% of its oil supply, at about $300 / barrel... (Photo: T. Boone Pickens)

* Iowa - Trucking firms challenge Iowa biodiesel legislation

Des Moines,IO,USA -The Quad City Times, by James Q. Lynch -February 25, 2010: -- Trucking firms tried to hit the brakes on legislation to mandate biodiesel use, which they told the House Ag Committee costs more and underperforms traditional diesel... “We’re not opposed to biodiesel,” said Brenda Neville, president of the Iowa Motor Truck Association, “but we are opposed to a biodiesel mandate”... The IMTA’s members include more than 700 trucking companies with more than 86,000 employees, she said. It is part of Iowans for Fuel Choice, a coalition of retailers, truckers, unions and utilities... However, Monte Shaw of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association called the mandate necessary because the state requires biodiesel use. Once biodiesel is mandatory, he said, it will be widely available and the price disadvantage Lursen spoke of will disappear...



* Germany - Car and truckmaker Volkswagen 2009 net income declines 80 percent to $1.3 billion

Frankfurt,Germany -The Associated Press/ABC News -February 26, 2010: -- Germany's Volkswagen AG, Europe's largest carmaker by sales, said Friday its net income for 2009 fell 80 percent to euro960 million ($1.3 billion) from nearly euro5 billion in 2008... The drop came as revenue fell 8 percent, to euro105.2 billion from nearly euro114 billion a year earlier, even though deliveries to customers were up 1.3 percent year-on-year at 6.34 million vehicles from 2008... Volkswagen's brands include Audi, Seat, Bentley and Skoda. It is also a major shareholder in two of Europe's largest truckmakers, MAN SE of Germany and Scania AB of Sweden... (AP Photo/Matthias Rietschel - In this Feb. 23, 2009 file picture a VW logo of German car maker Volkswagen stands in front of the Glossy Manufacture plant in Dresden, German, in which Volkswagen assembles their premium model Phaeton)

* Czech Republic - Truck makers stall in '09. Tatra chief executive describes last year as 'disastrous' for the truck manufacturing industry

Prague,Czech Republic -The Prague Post, by Philip Heijmans -February 24, 2010: -- Czech truck maker Tatra announced an estimated 2.6 billion Kč ($138 million) drop in sales for 2009 compared with the year before - a 45 percent decrease. Tatra Chief Executive, Ronald Adams, told The Prague Post that 2009 was "disastrous" for truck makers... Heavy truck sales in Europe were down 44 percent in 2009 according to a market analysis by auto interest group Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA). New truck registrations dropped 55 percent in the Czech Republic for 2009 compared with 2008, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, with domestic production down 60 percent and German production down 66 percent, the lowest in more than 30 years... (Photo from autocorse: Tatra truck)

* Europa - January truck sales fell 12.3 percent

Paris,France -Reuters, by Helen Massy-Beresford & Dan Lalor -Feb 26, 2010: -- New commercial vehicle sales in the European Union fell 12.3 percent in January for their 21st consecutive monthly decline, industry association ACEA said on Friday. The commercial vehicle market, which unlike the passenger car sector has not been helped by scrapping incentives, plunged into a steep downturn when the economic crisis hit... The market shows signs of stabilising but executives do not expect a rapid recovery... New light commercial vehicle sales fell 5.2 percent in January across European Member states, with France and Italy the only markets to show growth, of 7.5 percent and 21.8 percent respectively... Heavy truck registrations fell 43.5 percent, with only Lithuania and Sweden -- home to truckmakers Volvo and Scania -- performing slightly better, ACEA said... Registrations of trucks over 3.5 tonnes fell 40 percent... Bus and coach registrations fell 30.9 percent... France, Sweden, Italy, Ireland and Portugal were the only countries to start the year with gains in commercial vehicle registrations, ACEA said... January 2010 was the first month in which ACEA published data for the European Union as a whole, and not for the EU15 and the EU10 countries separately. ACEA said it would also report a total for EU member states plus EFTA countries, but that data for Malta and Cyprus was unavailable...

* Russia - KamAZ Begins Truck Production In India

Kazan,Tatarstan,Russia -Radio Liberty --February 26, 2010: -- Russia's KamAZ manufacturer says it has begun manufacturing trucks in India in a joint venture with the India-based Vectra Group... Tatar Prime Minister, Rustam Minnikhanov, KamAZ CEO Sergei Kogogin, and Vectra Group President,Ravi Rishi, took part in a ceremony marking the plant opening in the southern Indian city of Hosur on February 25... The Russian-Indian joint venture KamAZ Vectra Motors plans to produce 5,000 trucks per year at Hosur...

* Europa -Trailer demand takes a beating

Brussels,Belgium -Fleet Owner (VA,USA), by Brian Straight -Feb 16, 2010: -- A new report from consulting group CLEAR highlights what toll the economy has taken on the trailer market in Europe... According to CLEAR, who counts among its clients component manufacturers, vehicle manufacturers, investment banks, management consultants, materials producers and governments, the European trailer market has seen a 50% drop since 2008, eclipsing by nearly 20% the drop experienced during the 1992-93 recession... The West European Trailer Market Report points out that companies have plenty of “new equipment, which they can easily forgo renewing for year or two. For many firms, trailer production was down by 80% at the start of 2009”...



* Tennessee - “Super 7 Sweepstakes” Fleet One pours free fuel on seven sweeps winners

Nashville,TN,USA -Fleet Owner -Feb 25, 2010: -- Charles Flora, of Versailles, KY, was the first prize winner of $10,000 of free fuel in Fleet One’s recent “Super 7 Sweepstakes.” The sweeps awarded seven winners credit towards future fuel purchases... The contest was put on by Fleet One, a provider of fuel cards and management solutions to the trucking industry. In all, $28,000 was awarded... Elias Heilman, of Freeport, PA, was the second-place winner, taking home $7,500 in fuel credit. Wade Palmer, of Lake Oswego, OR, was third, winning $5,000... Other winners included:

* Stani Dobrikov of Elgin, IL - $2,500
* Joan Yoder of Oley, PA - $1,500
* Candy Trivette from Salisbury, NC - $1,000
* Randy Timms of Oklahoma City, OK - $500

* Texas - Keys are free to owner of Rush Truck Center’s 1,000th Hino

Houston,TX,USA -Fleet Owner, by Brian Straight -Feb 25, 2010: -- “No charge?” And with that, Odis Peavy, president of Houston-based PV Rentals, accepted the key to the 1,000th Hino medium-duty truck sold here by Rush Truck Centers of Houston... Rush Enterprises founder and chairman Marvin Rush, in keeping with the light-hearted celebration held at the facility yesterday before customers , Hino Motor Sales USA representatives, and media, told Peavy, a longtime Rush customer, that, yes, the keys were free...


TRUCKMAKERS' NEWS * USA - Navistar Parts debuts purchasing-card credit program

Warrenville,ILL,USA -Fleet Owner -Feb 25, 2010: -- Navistar Parts has introduced a “dealer-specific credit program” based around a new Fleet Charge One purchasing card that the company says offers payment flexibility to small fleet and owner-operator customers... To be offered by both International and IC Bus dealers, the new credit offering is aimed at customers who need the flexibility and payment options of a purchasing program, noted Navistar. The Fleet Charge One card is dealer-specific, and offers truck and bus owners 30 day terms on parts and service purchases as well as providing them more control and tracking ability for expenses... Participation in the program also enables truck and bus owners the opportunity to participate in Navistar’s Customer Parts Recovery (CPR) program, which allows customers to return unused obsolete or surplus parts from their stock to receive credit for future purchases...

* Michigan - Ford Announces 2011 Super Duty Horsepower, Torque Figures

Dearborn,MICH,USA -Car and Driver, by Jake Holmes -February 25, 2010: -- Now we know just how much burlier the 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty is than its predecessor. Engine outputs are up significantly over outgoing models, and although the EPA doesn’t rate Super Duty fuel economy, Ford says the new engines are between 15 and 25 percent more efficient than before... Ford claims these new engines enable some pretty monstrous towing and payload ratings. In top-dog F-550 chassis-cab configuration, Ford claims a 26,400-pound towing ability, with a 12,711-pound payload rating. Pickup bodies are rated for 24,400 pounds of towing and a 6520-pound payload. 2010 models had a max tow rating of “just” 24,600 pounds... (Photo: 2011 Ford F350 Super Duty)

* California - ZAP Electric Conversion Mail Trucks Coming to USPS

Santa Rosa,Cal,USA -PR Newswire -February 17, 2010: -- US Postal Service awarded ZAP contract for design, development of electric version of its Long Life Vehicle... ZAP will convert gasoline mail truck to run on electricity as specified by USPS at Santa Rosa, CA facilities. Converted vehicle will then undergo field trials in Washington, DC metro area later this year... USPS operates a fleet of 142K LLVs as part of the largest civilian fleet in the world. W/ 218,684 vehicles traveling more than 1.25B miles each year... USPS fleet consumed 444M gallons of fuel in 2009, costing roughly $1.1B. Agency vehicles average 10.4 miles/gal; most drive slowly w/ frequent stops w/ engine idling... (Photo from postal museum: LLV-1)

* Light-duty vehicle sales continue slow climb

New York,NY,USA -Fleet Owner -Feb 26, 2010: -- Economic growth and improved credit availability are strengthening both the near- and long-term outlook for new light-duty vehicle sales in 2010-- though improvements continue at a slow pace... According to research firm J.D. Power and Associates, February 2010 new-vehicle retail sales are expected to increase marginally to 561,000 units compared with the same month a year ago – representing a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 8 million units, compared with 7.9 million units in February 2009... J.D. Power added that fleet sales also rebounded from the lower levels experienced one year ago, with total sales for February 2010 projected to come in at 741,500 units, up 8% from February 2009... The firm did note that sales numbers are down from January’s figures, largely due to the Toyota recalls, but expects that drop to only be temporary...



* USA - Idle time reporting added to cellcontrol device

Baton Rouge,LA,USA -Fleet Owner -Feb 19, 2010: -- Idle time customizable recording has been added to obdEdge’s cellcontrol device to collect idle time data for fleet managers... Cellcontrol also ties into a vehicle’s onboard diagnostics port to transmit a signal to a driver’s phone when the vehicle is moving, preventing calling, texting or other distracted driver behaviors... Said Leigh Gilly, vp of business development, “With typical idle times of 18%, fleet owners using cellcontrol will save millions of dollars in fuel savings annually while ensuring their drivers comply with the recent driving while distracted ban put in place by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation" ... The idle data is customizable with reports gathered at a set time or on demand... (Photo by PATRICK DENNIS/Advocate - Don Powers, managing partner of obdEdge LLC, shows where a CellControl unit would be installed in a vehicle. When plugged into a car’s diagnostic connector under the dash, the unit blocks incoming and outgoing cell phone calls, e-mails and texts while a vehicle is in motion)

* COMMENT - Leaving battery choice to truck makers loses money

Kings Langley,Hertfordshire,England,UK -Warehouse & Logistics News -February 25, 2010: -- Forklift battery issues waste much money because while most operators are fully aware of exact fuel costs of running their transport fleet they have very little idea of the real costs of operating their materials handling requirements, claims battery systems supplier, Hoppecke. The solution is not to leave it to the forklift manufacturer to specify the battery/charger, changer, currently the norm, but to call in the battery experts to provide a free energy audit. In many cases the fork truck salesman is not fully up to date with cost saving technology or does not want to complicate a possible sales process... There has been much discussion over whether or not the lead acid battery will give way to other electrical batteries like nickel metal hydride and lithium. The challenge is to produce a power pack which not only offers the best operational solution but does so at a realistic cost, believes Hoppecke. Presently the prototype cost of buying MiMH is around 8 times that of lead acid with a life increase of 2-3 times. The prototype cost of lithium is 10 times for a life increase of 4-5 times that of lead acid. Until the costs are reduced to around 2-4 times with this life increase these combinations will not reflect a solution to everyday materials handling operations, claims Hoppecke. Lead acid is not yet ready to yield its throne... (Image from chaz4)


CLEAN TRUCKS * USA - Court Rejects Injunction in L.A. Port Plan

Ruling ‘Not Significant,’ ATA Says

San Francisco,CAL,USA -Transport Topics -25 Feb 2010: -- A federal court ruling on the Port of Los Angeles’ clean trucks plan will not significantly affect a lower court ruling that temporarily halts the port from implementing most of the port’s concession requirements, according to American Trucking Associations... A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday to allow the port to continue enforcing certain motor vehicle safety-related provisions contained in its concession plans... The ruling did not change a previous court decision to allow owner-operators to continue operating at the port. The port had sought to only allow drivers who were employees of trucking companies... The case, it's scheduled for trial in mid-March in Los Angeles federal court... (Photo from


Feb 25, 2010


* USA - TravelCenters of America LLC Announces Fourth Quarter and Year End 2009 Results

Westlake,OH,USA -BUSINESS WIRE/MarketWatch -Feb 24, 2010: -- TravelCenters of America LLC today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2009... At December 31, 2009, TA's business included 233 sites, 166 of which were operated under the "TravelCenters of America" or "TA" brand names and 67 that were operated under the "Petro" brand name... During the three months and year ended December 31, 2009, the continued difficult economic conditions in the U.S. presented TA with significant operating challenges. TA's results for the fourth quarter of 2009 reflected unfavorable changes in net loss, which increased by $45.9 million... For the year ended December 31, 2009, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2008, the unfavorable changes in net loss of 19.4%, which decreased from 2008's $ 328,581 to 2009's $ 264,790 ...

* Missouri - Tanker haulers call foul on Springfield inspection fees. Trucking association says state, federal laws pre-empt ordinance; city attorney disagrees, willing to discuss it

Springfield,MO,USA -News-Leader, by Kary Booher -February 24, 2010:
-- Faced with forking over fees and temporarily idling its fleets, members of the Missouri Trucking Association are demanding the city end its annual inspections of tankers carrying flammable or combustible liquids... In a letter dated Feb. 10, the association's president, Tom Crawford, insisted that federal and state laws pre-empt the city's ordinance that requires the inspections... "We already have a lot of folks looking over our shoulders. This is a gotcha system. It's not a preventive system," Crawford added... The city has conducted the inspections since the early 1960s and will charge $44 this year for each tanker... (Photo by Nathan Papes/News-Leader - A fuel tanker unloads at the Break Time gas station at National Avenue and Grand Street. Since the 1960s, the city has required inspections of such vehicles and will charge $44 this year for each tanker)

* Canada - Truck Pricing Seen Stabilizing

Mississauga,ON,CAN -The Journal of Commerce Online, by William B. Cassidy -Feb 24, 2010: -- Canadian General Freight Index sees slight monthly cost increase in December... Canadian trucking costs appear to be stabilizing, but at a level nearly 10 percent lower than a year ago, according to an index based on less-than-truckload and truckload rates... Overall freight costs rose 0.2 percent in December from the previous month, said the Canadian General Freight Index published by Nulogx, a transportation management company that processes more than $750 million in freight transactions a year... Base trucking rates, which exclude the impact of fuel surcharges, fell by 0.1 percent in December, the index said. That decrease was outstripped by a 3.7 percent rise in the average fuel surcharge compared with November... Year-over-year, freight costs were down 9.6 percent for Canadian shippers in December. Base rates declined 7.8 percent from a year ago, their steepest drop in 2009. The average fuel surcharge was 13.1 percent lower than in December 2008...