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Apr 27, 2013

TRUCKMAKERS NEWS * Europe

* Sweden - Rise in Volvo orders lifts hopes of trucks recovery


(Photo: A Volvo FE model, refuse truck)
Stockholm,Sweden -Reuters/Fox Business, by Niklas Pollard/Johannes Hellstrom and Helena Soderpalm/Mark Potter -April 25, 2013: -- Volvo, the world's No. 2 truck maker, posted a surprise rise in first-quarter orders and said it would step up production, adding to signs a protracted slump in key markets like Europe may be coming to an end... The Swedish group, which makes heavy-duty trucks under the Renault, Mack, UD Trucks and Eicher brands, as well as its own name, said on Thursday orders rose 11 percent year-on-year compared with a 15 percent fall forecast by analysts... Volvo's comments come after domestic rival Scania reported a 28 percent rise in orders earlier this week, and world No. 1 Daimler Trucks forecast a slight rise in 2013 sales... The Gothenburg-based company would add around 400 staff in its European production system in the second quarter, but only on a temporary basis as it continued to treat evidence of improving markets warily... 


* Germany - MAN SE Cuts 2013 Forecast as Europe Decline Leads to Loss

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Frankfurt,Germany -Bloomberg, by Christoph Rauwald / Chad Thomas - Apr 26, 2013: -- MAN SE, Europe’s third-largest maker of commercial vehicles, lowered its earnings forecast for 2013 as a drop in its home region’s truck market and extra costs on a power-plant project led to a first-quarter loss... The loss before interest, taxes and one-time items was 82 million euros ($106.8 million) versus profit of 254 million euros a year earlier, Munich-based MAN said today... First-quarter sales of trucks weighing more than 3.5 tons dropped 17 percent to 64,198 vehicles, industry association ACEA said today in a statement... MAN, controlled by Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen AG, has scaled back production in response to the shrinking truck market in Europe. Measures to protect earnings have included reducing work shifts, cutting costs and streamlining procurement... Volkswagen rearranged its truck operations’ management last year after a six-year effort to get MAN and Soedertaelje-based Scania to work together... Cooperation between MAN and Scania has begun with joint purchases of raw materials, and the cost reductions should help earnings in coming quarters...


* Belarus - Sberbank may finance Belarusian truckmaker MAZ’s plant in India


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Minsk,Belarus -Bloomberg, by Aliaksandr Kudrytski / Balazs Penz -Apr 25, 2013: -- OAO Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender, may provide financing to Belarusian truckmaker MAZ to build an assembly plant in India... “We are in talks with two Indian firms to organize the assembly of MAZ trucks in India,” Dmitry Korotkevich, MAZ deputy commercial director, told reporters today in the capital, Minsk, without elaborating... While India’s truck market is “saturated,” MAZ expects to invest at least $1.5 million in building a new plant in the country to assemble at least 500 trucks a year, Korotkevich said...

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* Mexico - Heavy truck and cargo thefts, a steep decline ?

* Texas - Experts skeptical of cargo theft declines in Mexico

(Photo courtesy of Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Cargo theft from a railroad yard earlier this year near Los Angeles) 
Austin,TX,USA -Land Line, by Greg Grisolano -26 April 2013: -- The latest report from FreightWatch International on the number of heavy truck and cargo thefts in Mexico shows a steep decline for the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same time frame last year... FreightWatch found 303 reported incidents of cargo theft in January, February and March of 2013, compared with 486 incidents during the first quarter of 2012... But the same experts who wrote the report caution that the decline has more to do with changes to how thefts are reported south of the border, rather than a sea-change in policies and practices that protect drivers and shippers... Doug Morris, OOIDA’s director of security operations, concurs that the numbers are probably artificially deflated. He also said the companies shipping to Mexico face challenges such as hiring armed security for loads, camouflaging or disguising shipments, and securing insurance, all of which can pass costs on to consumers north and south of the border...

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* Canada - TRUCKING INDUSTRY: To face stricter emissions enforcement

* BC - A number of semis made before 2007 may not meet standards

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Vancouver,BC,CAN -NEWS1130, by Anita Bathe -April 26, 2013: -- More tickets and fines could be in place for heavy duty trucks not up to snuff with emission standards... A new Metro Vancouver study shows 98 per cent of diesel truck emissions in Metro Vancouver and 90 per cent of nitrogen oxide emissions are coming from semis made before 2007... Metro Environment Parks Committee ChairHeather Deal, says these truck drivers will start to see stricter enforcement of the existing emission guidelines... Although the BC Trucking Association has been pushing to be exempt from Air Care programs, Deal says this study just proves it is needed. She says they’ll be working with the province to come up with more programs to regulate... Deal says it’s not a question of taking them off the road and forcing them to get newer trucks but many of them can be fixed with proper maintenance...


* USA - Trucking industry to increase natural gas use

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NY,USA -The Strategic Sourceror, by Fred Johring -April 26, 2013: -- Natural gas is becoming more available in the U.S., and the trucking industry is taking note. Many shipping companies are switching from petroleum to natural gas, The New York Times reported...  Cummins, a truck engine manufacturer, began shipping new natural gas-powered engines that allow trucks to make longer trips... Natural gas burns cleaner than conventional fuel, which will allow trucks to meet stricter emissions standards, according to the newspaper. It is less expensive than petroleum, and with the shale boom in the U.S., supply chain managers will be less vulnerable to geopolitical disturbances that can impact the cost of oil...

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* USA - Warns scam aimed at CDL drivers, training schools

* DC - FMCSA warns: Fraudster promises monetary payments to fraudulent “recruiters” 


Washington,DC,USA -Land Line -26 April 2013: -- Drivers and training schools are being cautioned against a scheme aimed at defrauding both CDL drivers and training schools attempting to help students find jobs... The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a release earlier this month outlining the scam... A caller represents himself or herself as being a recruiter for a known and legitimate motor carrier to a representative of a truck driving school or driver. The caller has an air of urgency and “must hire” several CDL holders immediately or as soon as a student graduates from driver training and receives his or her CDL. The fraudster is also known to solicit truck driving school instructors to provide his or her callback number to trainees or recent graduates of truck driving schools... When a driver seeking employment calls the “recruiter,” he or she is offered an immediate position with pay and benefits higher than industry the norm for a new driver and is often told there will be a “waiver” for previous criminal or DUI convictions older than three to five years... The caller then tells the driver candidate he or she must prove financial solvency to the carrier by sending a wire transfer of $350 or more to the “recruiter” ... FMCSA recommends drivers and training schools call the publicly listed telephone number of the motor carrier offering employment and verify the recruiter is a duly authorized representative of the carrier...

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BAD FREIGHT EFFICIENCY * USA

* Analysis: You can't talk freight efficiency without good roads and bridges

Washington,DC,USA -Land Line, by David Tanner -26 April 2013: ... The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation heard from large shippers, carriers and ports on that and other topics during its first hearing Wednesday, April 24, on Capitol Hill... One thing is clear to everyone in the chain, and that is without improvements to infrastructure, those who move freight will continue to face congestion, deficient bridges and other challenges... A recent report by the U.S. Congressional Budget Office says the Highway Trust Fund, which funds roads, bridges and transit as well as federal transportation and safety programs from fuel taxes and other user fees, faces a $100 billion deficit over the next decade due to increased costs and a tapering off of receipts... Infrastructure issues will not be going away anytime soon... The Government Accountability Office says the average motorist driving a sedan currently pays about $95 into the Highway Trust Fund from the 18.4 cent gas tax... On the other hand, a trucker that buys 20,000 gallons of fuel a year pays $4,880 in diesel taxes... That trucker also pays a $550 Heavy Vehicle Use Tax each year. If that trucker buys 12 tires, that’s another $340 in tire taxes. The purchase of a new truck could put another $14,400 into the Highway Trust Fund due to the 12 percent excise tax on heavy equipment. A new van trailer might contribute another $3,000 into the fund due to the excise tax... Truck tolls and taxes are already funding things other than highways, bridges and transit, especially at the state level...

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Apr 26, 2013

MIXERS TRUCKS: ‘Dangerous’ Vehicles * Philippines

* MMDA chief wants to reclassify concrete mixer trucks as ‘Dangerous’ Vehicles

(Photo, by VICTOR VILLANUEVA: Vehicles line up along the narrow Legarda Street in Manila)
Manila,Philippines -The Philippine Daily Inquirer, by Jaymee T. Gamil -April 25, 2013: -- The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is proposing that concrete mixer trucks be reclassified as “dangerous” vehicles, following the death of a college student crushed to death under such a vehicle in Quezon City on Tuesday... In a statement, MMDA chair, Francis Tolentino, said concrete mixers, like fuel tankers, should be considered hazardous-type vehicles. Vehicles classified as dangerous are required to have safety features such as prominent signs and lights, among others... Drivers of dangerous vehicles must also possess a special driver’s license showing they have been specially trained to operate the truck, Tolentino added. Tolentino cited MMDA data showing that concrete mixers figure in at least one vehicular accident every week in Metro Manila...

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* USA - FMCSA shuts down Kansas-based carriers

* DC - FMCSA shuts down four Kansas-based 'reincarnated' carriers 

Washington,DC,USA -Land Line, by Charlie Morasch -25 April 2013: -- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration placed four trucking companies out of service after a previously shut down company apparently reincarnated the new companies... Olathe, KS-based Royal Transport Inc.; Nationwide Inc.; Freight Inc.; and Midwest A Inc. have been ordered to immediately cease all interstate transportation service. FMCSA determined three of the companies are “chameleons” of a company the federal government already shut down... FMCSA found the four carriers were operating the same vehicles, using the same drivers and maintaining the same operational and management structure as Royal. After receiving initial orders that the four carriers cease operations in January, FMCSA said Binder Singh had petitioned for an administrative review of the decision. Singh defended each of the companies...


 * Georgia -  UPS, Teamsters agree on new contracts

(Photo: TT File)
Atlanta,GA,USA -Transport Topics -26 April 2013: -- UPS Inc. and the Teamsters union said they have reached tentative agreement on two new five-year labor contracts in the company’s small package and freight business units. The agreements, which take effect Aug. 1, must still be approved by Teamster-represented employees. The tentative pact, which covers nearly 250,000 workers at UPS and its less-than-truckload unit UPS Freight, is the largest collective bargaining agreement in North America, the Teamsters said in a statement...

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Volvo: Fuel savings of 25 percent * Sweden

* Sweden - Volvo confirms fuel savings of 25 percent with flywheel KERS

(Image: Volvo's Flywheel KERS)
Goteborg,Sweden -Gizmag, by C.C. Weiss -April 26, 2013: -- After extensive testing of its kinetic flywheel technology, Volvo has announced that the system can boost fuel economy by 25 percent. The company is now looking at integrating the Flywheel KERS system into its production line... Volvo's Flywheel KERS is fitted to the rear axle. During deceleration, the braking action causes the flywheel to spin at up to 60,000 rpm. Meanwhile, the front-mounted engine shuts off. The energy stored in the spinning flywheel can then be applied via a special transmission toward acceleration or used to power the car once it reaches cruising speed... Volvo's experimental flywheel is a carbon fiber model that spins in a vacuum to minimize frictional losses. It weighs 13.2 pounds (6 kg) and measures about 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter... During road testing with a Volvo S60 flywheel test car, Volvo found that when partnered with a four-cylinder engine, the flywheel technology offers up to a 25 percent reduction in fuel consumption versus a comparably performing turbo six-cylinder. It says that the system can also augment the engine with an 80 hp boost, giving it acceleration comparable to a six-cylinder – 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in as quick as 5.5 seconds...

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CARMAKERS NEWS * USA

* DC - U.S. Government will add 10K hybrids to fleet

Washington,DC,USA -The Detroit News, by David Shepardson -April 25, 2013: -- The Obama administration will help federal agencies purchase up to 10,000 hybrid automobiles in a bid to reduce fuel use... The General Services Administration says it will expand the number of hybrid vehicles in the federal fleet by up to 10,000 vehicles — a move that will save 1 million gallons of fuel per year for the life of these vehicles... If agencies opt to participate in the program, the GSA will fund the incremental cost to replace eligible vehicles with new hybrid sedans... The GSA leased fleet currently is made up of 5.3 percent hybrids, or 10,672, said GSA spokeswoman, Jackeline Yvette Stewart-Johnson. In the last fiscal year, the GSA purchased 919 hybrid vehicles for its leasing customers... The Interior Department said it will be the first to take part and will replace up to 300 gasoline and alternative-fueled vehicles — nearly a third of its fleet — with hybrids...


* DC - U.S. sells nearly 20 percent of remaining GM shares 

Washington,DC,USA -The Detroit News, by David Shepardson -April 25, 2013:  -- The U.S. Treasury sold nearly 20 percent of its remaining shares in General Motors Co. in the first three months of the year, the Detroit automaker disclosed Thursday... The Treasury, which initially held 60.8 percent of GM as part of the U.S. $49.5 billion bailout, now owns just 16.4 percent, or 241.7 million shares. In December, the Treasury sold GM 200 million shares of its stake for $5.5 billion to reduce its stake to 300 million shares... In total, Treasury has recouped $30.4 billion. At current trading prices, Treasury would lose about $11.5 billion on its GM bailout... GM disclosed that its second biggest holder is Brock Fiduciary Services LLC, with a 14 percent stake, followed by the Canadian and Ontario governments, which hold a 9.5 percent stake as part of the Canadian government's $10 billion GM bailout...

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FISKER's BANKRUPTCY ? * USA

* DC - House panel presses Energy Dept., startup on OK of fed loans

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Washington,DC,USA -The Detroit News, by David Shepardson -April 25, 2013: -- Fisker Automotive Inc. and the Energy Department came under intense questioning Wednesday at a congressional hearing as the struggling plug-in hybrid automaker disclosed publicly it is considering filing for bankruptcy... New documents released by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee show the Anaheim, Calif., based startup was facing deeper financial and quality problems than previously known... The documents show the Energy Department loaned Fisker $32 million of the $192 million it advanced after Fisker had said it had started building the $100,000 hybrid sports car in February 2011, when in fact it hadn't... As a result, the Energy Department halted payments in June 2011 — after only disbursing $192 million of the $529 million awarded — and has never resumed payments. By August 2012, Fisker had just $12 million on hand, according to an Energy Department document, and again warned it could run of money in months... Fisker faced quality problems, multiple recalls, battery problems and its battery supplier A123 was forced to file for bankruptcy. It hasn't been able to build a new vehicle since July and laid off 75 percent of its staff in recent weeks...


* Michigan - GM: Chevy's electric Spark will go 82 miles on full charge. Automaker says 119 mpg EPA rating  highest among EVs 

(Image from GM: Pricing for the 2014 Spark EV has not been announced, but GM has said it will cost less than $25,000 after subtracting the $7,500 federal income tax credit)
Detroit,MICH,USA -The Detroit News, by Melissa Burden -April 25, 2013: -- General Motors Co. said Wednesday its 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV will achieve an Environmental Protection Agency rated range of 82 miles of combined city and highway driving at full charge... The Detroit automaker said the Spark EV's fuel-efficiency rating by the EPA of 119 miles per gallon equivalent is the highest of any EV sold in the retail market... Because the Spark uses no gasoline, MPGe is an equivalency formula that EPA developed that calculates a value comparable to fuel consumption in a gasoline-powered vehicle. The rating allows car buyers to compare their vehicle's efficiency to other electric vehicles and gasoline-powered cars... Chevrolet spokesman, Randy Fox, said the Spark EV is not only the most efficient electric vehicle, but the most efficient passenger car, surpassing any mileage rating in today's marketplace...


* Michigan - Detroit Electric teams with China's Geely to build electric cars

(Photo from Detroit Electric: Under terms of the partnership, the first models — based on Geely’s Emgrand EC7 car, above, — will go on sale starting in 2014) 
Detroit,Michigan,USA -The Detroit News, by Karl Henkel -April 26, 2013: -- Detroit Electric, the rejuvenated automaker aiming to build a line of limited electric sports cars, said Thursday it has teamed with China-based Geely Automobile Group to develop electric vehicles and related motors and drivetrains for the Chinese market.... The partnership will allow Detroit Electric to have manufacturing locations on three continents: at a to-be-determined site in Wayne County; in the Netherlands in Europe; and in China. It hopes to sell a lineup of electric cars, starting with a $135,000 sports car and later a more affordable sedan and hatchback... Under terms of the partnership, the first models — based on Geely's Emgrand EC7 car, which is similar in dimensions to a midsize car — will go on sale starting in 2014... The vehicle will initially be sold in China to business users and public-sector organizations. The companies forecast sales of 3,000 units in the first year, growing to 30,000 within three years...


* Sweden - Siemens and Volvo bring EV charge times down to 90 minutes

(Image: The fast-charger system uses a three-phase outlet to bring about a 164 km -102 mi- range in 1.5 hours)
Goteborg,Sweden -Gizmag, by Angus MacKenzie -April 25, 2013: -- When it comes to electric vehicles, the conversation invariably diverts to concerns about vehicle range, infrastructure, and recharge times. To address the last of those issues, Volvo and Siemens have developed a new fast-charging system that cuts recharge times down to 90 minutes... The new 22-kW fast-charger system, fitted to a Volvo C30 Electric, is reported to be the world's first on-board charger that operates on a three-phase supply. The system, small enough to fit innocuously inside the vehicle, uses a three-phase outlet to provide enough charge for a range of 164 km (102 mi) in 90 minutes (based on a NEDC certification driving cycle). This compared to a 230-V single-phase household outlet that takes 8 to 10 hours to charge, depending on available current... A new Siemens electric motor develops peak power output of 89 kW (120 hp) and 250 Nm (184 lb.ft) of torque to the Volvo’s wheels. These figures give the EV a top speed of 125 km/h (78 mph) and a 0 to 70 km/h (42 mph) time of 5.9 seconds. Range is reported at 163 km (101 mi) on a full charge... Charging using a 400-V, 10A–32A outlet is where the quick turnaround comes from, but if only a standard socket is available then you’re looking at a 10-hour charge...

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Apr 25, 2013

* France - The environmental tax heavyweights

* Parliament finally adopted the environmental levy heavy

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Paris,France -AFP / WK Transport Logistics, by Anne Kerriou -25 April 2013: -- Parliament finally adopted the bill establishing the environmental tax heavyweights... Key measure of the law, the environmental tax trucks, decided under the former majority in 2009, during the Grenelle environment should finally enter into force. The date is October 1, 2013, even though there are rumors about the possibility of a further extension... The principle is well known: "HGVs over 3.5 tonnes taking the non-paying national roads and some areas of the local network will have to pay this tax, the scale depends on the size and environmental performance vehicle, and the number of kilometers traveled" ... The French Confederation of Business to Business (CGI), which represents the wholesale distributors, immediately heard his displeasure: "The CGI has made several amendments to the establishment of a system of compensation for transport on own account, and a request for exemption if no device in this direction was not passed. These amendments, co-signed by many MPs have been widely supported in the meeting on April 11, but the government and the majority are deaf to any change in the text, "   laments the confederation, while reiterating his doubts about the constitutionality of the text...


* Paris - Hazardous materials and 44 tons: expected clarification

(Picture: European leader in the transport and logistics of hazardous materials, Groupe Samat UK Ltd.'s, new Renault Premium 460.25 6x2 tractor units)
Paris,France -The Official Carriers, by Erick Demangeon -25 April 2013: -- The implementation of 44 tonnes for the transport of hazardous materials appear to face a number of regulatory obstacles... Professionals expect quick clarification to avoid being penalized... Limited for technical and security reasons, the transition from 40 to 44 tonnes in the transportation of hazardous materials could simply be impossible ... under paragraph 9.7.5.1 of ADR. Dedicated to vehicle stability, it provides that "the weight on the axles of the carrying unit of the semi-trailer must not exceed 60% of the total weight load of the complete articulated vehicle" ... With this rule, the load up to 43 tons would be a maximum in the first simulations... With the UFIP oil, chemical industry gathered in the UIC has mobilized its side to get a clarification on the border crossings with sets of more than 40 tons...

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March 2013 catastrophic for all types of carriers * France

* Paris - FNTR alert on the situation of road transport: A downturn of -4.2% to -5.8% in 2013 

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Paris,France -WK Transport Logistics -25 April 2013: -- The National Federation of Road Transport (FNTR) issued a statement on April 24 that deplores worsening of the crisis in the sector in early 2013. It provides up to 5.3% downturn in road transport over the year... The federation briefly replace these bad results in a broader picture. The crisis in late 2008 worsened in 2012 after the slow recovery of 2010-2011... But this crisis has further deepened from January to March 2013... This alarming finding led the organization to forecast even negative throughout 2013. FNTR provides a downturn in road transport for hire or reward of -4.2 to -5.8% depending on the growth assumptions (ranging from 0.1% to -0.3%)... For comparison, the activity has decreased by 7.1% in 2012, year in which the business failures increased by 10.2% and the start-ups fell by 30.3%... Overall, real activity in tonne-kilometers in the French road transport for hire has decreased by 23.5% between 2007 and 2012. Registrations of new commercial vehicles to be folded by 17.4% and failures have increased by 27.4% over the same period... For a cease-fire tax, the FNTR believes that "fiscal cease-fire and is a regulatory imperative for companies" ...


* Loire - Munster moved to lower costs and get out of recovery

(Photo: Les Transport Munster -Loire- hope to release the recovery end of 2013) 
Saint-Just-Saint-Robert,Loire,France -The Official Carriers, by Slimane Boukezzoula -24 April 2013: -- Transport Munster, in receivership since December 2012, continue their plan to reduce costs including leaving the site of Saint-Just-Saint-Robert (Loire)... The Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert was owned Transalliance (Meurthe-et-Moselle), which belonged Munster prior to its acquisition by Thomas Wilson in 2010... "We take possession of a site with 5000 m2 of parking, a diesel tank and a workshop. Offices are also larger," said Thomas Wilson, who sees in this move a must in addition the recovery of the company, the opportunity to finally turn the page Transalliance... Munster is in receivership since December 5, 2012. Under his leadership, the company was back on the right track since March 2013 and has "positive outlook in April" ... 

* Rhône-Alpes - Exapaq a bid intercontinental


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Grenoble,Rhône-Alpes,Francia -Logistics Magazine, by Luc Battais -26 April 2013: -- Known primarily as a messaging provider B to B in France, Exapaq now offers a global service based on Sodexi, a historic partnership between GeoPost and Air France-KLM... Exapaq's subsidiary in France express courier monocolis GeoPost (La Poste), today announced the launch of an offering called "DPD Classic Intercontinental" to 200 destinations around the world from the Roissy Charles- de Gaulle with time routing 2 to 8 days depending on the destination. Exapaq used for this platform Sodexi located beside the tracks Roissy. The site features a mechanized sorting system package. This particular tool allows to load packages in cargo planes to Air France-KLM passengers on 200 destinations network Sodexi that end load chain organize parcel delivery through local partnerships...

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NEWEST: A Toyota's CONCEPT MINI in * France

* Paris - Toyota's ultralight, multifunctional ME.WE mini-EV concept debuts in 

(Video from YouTube, by Toyota: Discover the TOYOTA ME.WE)
Paris,France -Gizmag, by C.C. Weiss -April 24, 2013: -- The auto world's attention may still be tied up in China, but Toyota is hoping to pull it westward. Debuted earlier today at the Le Rendez-vous Toyota, Toyota’s brand experience center on the Champs Elysées in Paris, the ultralight ME.WE is a concept car that strips the automobile down to its basic core in an attempt to reframe consumer expectations... This concept car, the innovative result of a partnership between Toyota European Design and Development (ED2) and Jean-Marie Massaud, the renowned creative designer acclaimed for his visionary projects in design and architecture... For ED2, which signed a partnership agreement with Studio Massaud in July 2011, it's all about learning from a unique collaboration leading to a project that marks a paradigm shift compared to traditional vehicle design and engineering... For Jean-Marie Massaud, the ambition is to 'instill' human, economic and environmental challenges into a realistic conception of an 'anti-crisis' car for today...


* Germany - Audi's lighter, faster TT Ultra Quattro Concept

(Image: The TT Ultra Concept handles better, brakes faster and is quicker to 100 km/h -62 mph- in only 4.2 seconds)
Ingolstadt,Bavaria,Germany -Gizmag, by Angus MacKenzie -April 25, 2013: ... Audi’s compact TT sport-coupe has changed little since its inception...  But with its war-on-weight campaign, Audi decided the already lightweight TT could use a trim. So off to the fat farm went the Ultra Quattro Concept, and when all was said and done, a 300 kg (661 lb) lighter vehicle remained... The core of these new hi-tech, lightweight springs is made up of long glass fibers, twisted together, then impregnated with epoxy resin. A machine then wraps additional micro-fibers around the core at alternating angles of plus/minus 45 degrees to the longitudinal axis. These layers in turn support each other and provide the necessary compression/ decompression functionality... According to Audi, this FRP suspension modification reduces unsprung weight on the TT by 40 percent... Not only will the TT Ultra Quattro Concept see handling and braking improvements from the strict diet, but performance will also benfit. With a power upgrade to roughly 305 hp and 400 Nm (295 lb.ft) of torque, the TT can now do the 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint in 4.2-seconds. A significant jump from its heftier brethren. Top speed for the TT Concept is rated at 273 km/h (170 mph)...

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NHTSA's distracted-driving guidelines * USA

* DC - NHTSA's distracted-driving guidelines say hands-free calls are a-okay

(Image: Bluetooth headset concept by Ilshat Garipov) 
Washington,DC,USA -The Car Connection, by Richard Read -Apr 24, 2013: -- In February of 2012, U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a rough draft of preliminary recommendations on distracted driving. Those recommendations were aimed specifically at automakers in the hopes of guiding the vehicle design process and minimizing driver distractions... Among those features are: 
 - "video not related to driving"
 - "certain graphical or photographic images" (perhaps like moving maps?)
 - "automatically scrolling text"
 - "manual text entry for the purpose of text-based messaging, other communication, or internet browsing"
 - "displaying text for reading from books, periodical publications, web-based content, social media content, text-based advertising and marketing, or text-based marketing"... 


* Texas - Study: Hands-free texting is no safer than typing 

College Station,TXS,USA -The Car Connection, by Richard Read -Apr 23, 2013: -- A debate is raging about taking and making hands-free calls behind the wheel. Some folks think the practice is perfectly safe, while others (like the National Transportation Safety Board) believe that all conversations are distracting, whether or not drivers hold a phone to their ear... But what about other hands-free activities -- like dictating text messages to friends? A new study from the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A and M University reveals that sending those messages using voice-to-text software is just as distracting as looking down at your phone and typing messages by hand... To reach those conclusions, the Institute put 43 drivers on a test track and measured each on three separate tasks: 
 1. Driving without texting at all.
 2. Driving while typing a text message on a cell phone.
 3. Driving while dictating a text message using voice-to-text software...

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TRUCKERS' LICENSE RESTRICTION * Canada

* Ontario - License restriction could catch some Canadian truckers off guard 

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Toronto,ONT,CAN -Land Line, by David Tanner -23 April 2013: -- Within a few weeks, thousands of Canadian truckers with medical restrictions that prevent them from operating in the U.S. will see a “W” appear on their licenses. The law is not new, but the appearance of the letter will be. The catch is, the restriction will also be given to thousands of unrestricted truckers unless they file an up-to-date medical certification form with their province... According to the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, a commercial driver may not operate in the U.S. if that driver has a history of epilepsy, diabetes requiring insulin, hearing impairment or vision impairment. That law has been on the books for many years, but the medical restrictions categorized as “W” under a Canada-U.S. reciprocity agreement were simply a matter of paperwork between Transport Canada and the U.S. Department of Transportation... For years, the Ontario Trucking Association and Ontario Motor Coach Association have lobbied to get the W classification to appear on a driver’s actual license... Starting at the end of May, the physical letter “W” will begin appearing on commercial licenses to notify carriers, border agents and law enforcement about a driver’s medical restrictions... According to a report by CBC, approximately 6,000 restricted drivers will get the W classification. The report said as many as 41,000 unrestricted drivers who have not filed updated medical forms will also get the W code...

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INCREASED DIFFICULT FOR SHIPPERS * USA

* Indiana - Shipper conditions deteriorate in February: FTR Shippers Conditions Index 

Bloomington,IND,USA -Truck News -23 April 2013: -- FTR Associates’ Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for February fell more than two points following a similar decline in January. The current reading of -9.5 reflects an expectation for increasingly difficult conditions for shippers as 2013 progresses. The SCI is forecast to be choppy over the next few months with further deterioration occurring in the second half of the year, according to FTR officials. FTR predicts that the effects of the coming new US Hours-of-Service rules will include a reduction in driver productivity, resulting in a substantial tightening of already tight truck capacity, which, in turn, will result in increased shipping costs... The Shippers Conditions Index is a compilation of factors affecting shippers transport environment. Any reading below zero indicates a less-than-ideal environment for shippers. Readings below 10 signal that conditions for shippers are approaching critical levels, based on available capacity and expected rates...

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TRAILER MAKERS NEWS * USA

* Indiana - Trailer orders slow in March


Columbus,IND,USA -Truck News -Apr 23, 2013: -- Net trailer orders declined 6% month-over-month in March, and 12% year-over-year, according to the latest data from ACT Research... However, ACT’s State of the Industry: US Trailers report suggests cancellations are low and so trailer manufacturers and sellers should not be alarmed... “Although orders are down, the orders being placed appear genuine, as cancellation activity has been negligible for most trailer categories,” said Frank Maly, director, CV transportation with ACT Research. “Better economic growth, and the resulting gains in freight, should result in improved order volumes as the year progresses. Backlogs decreased 4% in March, while inventories were up less than 2%” ...

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* USA - TRUCK SALES: UPS BUY 700 LNG tractors

* Georgia - UPS to buy 700 LNG tractors, Add four nat-gas fueling stations

(Image: UPS Inc)
Atlanta,GA,USA -Transport Topics -23 April 2013: -- UPS Inc. said Tuesday it will buy about 700 liquefied natural gas-fueled trucks and build four refueling stations by the end of next year, as it adds to its alternative-fuel fleet. Once completed, the company’s LNG fleet will be one of the biggest in the United States, the company said in a statement... UPS said its initial investment of more than $18 million to build fueling stations will be supported by the purchase of the 700 tractors and continued expansion of its U.S. natural-gas fleet. UPS, which has more than 1,000 natural-gas vehicles on the road, operates 112 LNG tractor-trailers from fueling stations in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Beaver, Utah, and has an LNG fueling station in Ontario, California...

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Apr 24, 2013

Class 8: Drop in order cancellations * USA

* Georgia - Drop in Class 8 order cancellations reflects positive view of economy by truck buyers

(Picture: Mack Trucks' plant - In March, order cancellations fell to their lowest levels since Q3 2010) 
Atlanta,GA,USA -Fleet Owner, by David Cullen -Apr. 23, 2013: -- The number of new Class 8 order cancellations fell again in March to continue a positive trend first sighted late last year, Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst of commercial-vehicle market analysis and forecasting firm ACT Research (ACT), told ...  Overall, according to ACT, Class 8 orders climbed above 20,000 units for a sixth consecutive month in March, but fell from the month before for the first time since November. Class 8 net orders for March added up to just over 22,000 units. In the Class 5-7 medium-duty segment, net orders for March totaled 15,400 units, which Vieth said amounted to a volume just below both February and the year-ago March levels. According to Vieth, while the Class 8 order backlog in October stood at 70,000 units, by the end of March it had risen to nearly 86,000 units. Vieth pointed out that back in October and November, the cancellation level was right around 2,300 units. It dropped noticeably in January to 1,200 and by the end of March fell to just 1,000 units...



* Washington - Paccar's first-quarter net drops 28% on lower revenue

Bellevue,WASH,USA -Morningstar Advisor, by Bob Tita -23 April 2013: -- Paccar Inc.'s first-quarter earnings sank 28%, as the truck maker blamed a weak U.S. economy for discouraging truckers from buying the company's Kenworth and Peterbilt commercial trucks... The company's sales and income from the quarter missed analysts' estimates. Paccar's first-quarter revenue from trucks dropped 23% from a year ago, to $2.93 billion, while operating profit from trucks dropped 45%, to $165 million. The Bellevue, Wash., company attributed the decline to a sluggish truck market in North America caused by anemic economic growth in the United States. Paccar's first-quarter revenue from the U.S and Canada dropped 25% from a year ago... Paccar said industry-wide sales of new heavy-duty trucks in the U.S. and Canada dropped to 45,000 vehicles during the first quarter, down from 54,000 trucks a year earlier...



* Ontario / Canada - Hino to debut new cabover model next month


(Photo)
Mississauga,ONT,CAN -Truck News -April 24, 2013: -- Hino Motors Canada will be introducing its new 165 model cabover engine (COE) truck in May. With all the same standard features and equipment as Hino’s other COE models, the new  Hino 165  is positioned at the top of the Class 4 GVWR range at 16,000 lbs. Available wheelbase options for the model will accommodate body lengths ranging up to 18’. Hino officials say the design is intended to maximize payload capability. Hino’s new COE model is powered by its 210 horsepower turbo diesel engine rated at 440 lb.-ft. torque and is coupled to a six-speed fully automatic transmission. The cab includes an “industry exclusive” driver’s magnetic suspension seat designed to maximize driver comfort. Optional rear air ride suspension will also be made available on the new model, Hino said...

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