Trucking Biz Buzz

Western Star introduces Extreme Duty Offroad package

Western Star has announced its new Extreme Duty (XD) Offroad package and MBT-40 Transformer chassis. The package is designed for extremely rugged environments.

Available for 4900 and 6900 models, the XD Offroad package offers safety and comfort while providing drivers with a low cost per ton product for off-road trucks. The 6900 XD is available in 6x4 and 6x6 configurations. XD Offroad packages will be available for other models in the future.

The 6900 XD Offroad, also known as the Multi-Body Transformer, can change from one body application to another. The truck uses a Palfinger G68 hook-lift with a lifting capacity of 68,000 pounds. Western Star engineered the truck to replace the need for multiple pieces of off-road equipment on a job site.

For more information, go to WesternStarTrucks.com.

 

Freight tonnage numbers for March reveal another slow month

Official freight numbers for March are in. The index that measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles reveals freight was down for all freight modes except air.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for March decreased by 0.9 percent to 120. March’s TSI is a 2.8 percent decrease of the all-time high of 123.5 set in November 2014.

The February index is 26.7 percent above the low during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight decreased by 0.6 points to 134.7 from 135.3, a drop of less than 1 percent. However, American Trucking Associations’ numbers reveal a tonnage decrease of 4.5 percent in March to 137.6 from 144 in February. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s drop lines up with monthly decreases in the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index. Manufacturing activity and high inventories showed signs of decline.

The decrease was driven by continued weakness in the mining (including oil and gas well drilling and servicing), utility and manufacturing sectors of the economy. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index declined 0.6 percent in March, its second consecutive monthly decline.

 

Strick to recall 2005-2009 van trailers for faulty rear impact guard

Strick Trailer is recalling certain single-axle 28-foot van trailers for a rear-impact guard issue, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document.

More specifically, 2005-2009 van trailers manufactured July 25, 2004, to Feb. 3, 2009, and equipped with rear-impact guards using gussets 55997 and 55998 are affected. Gussets on affected trucks can increase the chances of injury during a crash, thereby violating Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 223, “Rear Impact Guards.”

In March 2014, Strick discovered that the gussets may not have been verified using prescribed test procedures, according to the NHTSA document. Tests conducted in April 2014 confirmed that the gussets violated FMVSS 223.

Owners will be notified by Strick to have reinforcements installed to the rear-impact guards at no cost. For more information, contact Strick’s customer service at 260-692-6121. The recall will begin on June 17.

 

XPO under attack by U.S. and European unions over ‘anti-worker actions’

Just over six months after acquiring Con-way, Employee and union leaders assembled outside an XPO Logistics shareholder meeting in Greenwich, Conn., to demand that CEO Bradley Jacobs address several concerns. In an email statement, XPO is calling it a Teamster’s publicity stunt.

XPO employees in the U.S. and Europe are upset about anti-worker actions and abuses, according to a Teamsters news release. Union leaders are claiming XPO is “mismanaging the integration of its new businesses, leading to operational and financial risks.”

“There were concerns about the company growing too fast and not being able to manage the company providing service for the workers,” said Galen Munroe, senior communications coordinator for Teamsters, during a press conference.

After acquiring Con-way, unions say port and rail drivers have experienced wage theft totaling more than $200 million as a result of their being misclassified as independent contractors. In January, a lawsuit was filed against XPO for misclassifying port drivers. The suit claimed the companies did not pay minimum wage, provide meal/rest breaks, reimburse business expenses, or pay overtime/double time wages, and committed other labor law violations. In total, the lawsuit claims violations of 10 separate labor laws.

“XPO has lost every case at every investigation by any governmental agency,” Munroe said. “They have lost every one of them and found that the workers are misclassified. What their business model has been is to negotiate a settlement and pay those drivers, but they never fix the problem.”

XPO also agreed to delay any layoffs in France for at least 18 months after acquiring Norbert Dentressangle SA last April. Union leaders claim that XPO did not honor that agreement.

“This company is not really interested in growing,” said Greg Alden, Teamsters’ freight division representative. “They are very interested in getting rid of the people there and using subcontractors.”

Earlier this year, XPO cut 190 non-driver jobs in its LTL operations. Approximately one week later, the logistics company shut down seven truck terminals in “remote areas,” according to an XPO statement.

In an interview with Bloomberg last September, Jacobs said that drivers were “very important” and XPO intended to keep all the drivers. In the U.S., all layoffs have affected administrative, management and executive offices. No known driver layoffs have occurred to date.

To date, Jacobs has declined to meet with union leaders.

The 1.4 million-member International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 75,000 freight members, including nearly 200 at XPO.

XPO sent Land Line the following statement:

This was obviously a publicity stunt by the Teamsters. We have excellent relationships with our employees and the owner-operators who serve our customers. Our drivers and the owner-operators we do business with are aware that we pay them more than their union counterparts in other companies. The Teamsters will have to look elsewhere for a way to solve their declining membership problem.

 

FMCSA issues safety advisory for Trailers Y Tanques De Aluminio tankers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a safety advisory mandating the owners of certain tankers manufactured by Trailers Y Tanques De Aluminio (TYTAL) cease all operations using the cargo tank, according to a FMCSA press release.

TYTAL, USDOT No. 2164338, CT-12407, cargo tank vehicles with a capacity of 8,400, 8,717 and 10,500 gallons are in need of immediate repairs. The 10,500-gallon tanker has inadequate venting capacity of pressure relief systems and inadequate accident damage protection. The other two tankers have inadequate accident damage protection as well.

Affected TYTAL tankers are unauthorized, according to the FMCSA, until repairs and testing have been completed. Effective June 1, enforcement and fines will be given to owners and drivers operating any of the above tankers that have not made necessary repairs.

Owners and operators opting not to continue to use these tanks in hazardous materials service must immediately remove, obliterate or cover the specification plate that identifies the vehicle as a DOT specification cargo tank. The specification plate must remain out of sight until the necessary repairs are completed.

A full list of affected vehicles needing repair can be found here.

TYTAL has notified known customers, and repairs have begun free of charge. More information about the defect can be found by calling 011-52-828-269-0030, emailing CustomerService@tytal.com.mx or visiting tytal.com.mx/en/. Paul Bomgardner, chief of Hazardous Materials Division, may also be contacted at 202-493-0027 or paul.bomgardner@dot.gov.

 

Department of Labor reports job increases for transportation sector

Transportation jobs experienced the first gain in 2016, including the first increase in trucking jobs since January.

The overall transportation sector gained nearly 9,000 jobs in April, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. From January through March, more than 28,000 jobs have been eliminated from the transportation and warehousing sector.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of approximately 700 jobs in April after the industry lost 2,400 in March and 600 in February. Approximately 1,500 trucking jobs were added in January, leaving a net loss of 800 for the year.

Warehousing and storage subsector experienced the largest increase with 6,500 more jobs, followed by couriers and messengers with an increase of 2,500. Rail transport and “support activities for transportation” experienced the only losses with 3,700 and 1,600 fewer jobs in April, respectively.

Last year, the trucking industry suffered a loss in only two out of 12 months. Nearly 7,000 trucking jobs were eliminated last March and 4,000 eliminated in September. December’s increase of more than 23,000 jobs was the largest in 2015.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.10 for April, a 2-cent increase from March. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased 3 cents to $20.93. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.53, 8 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is up to 6.8 percent from 6.1 percent last April. The overall unemployment rate for the country was mostly unchanged at 5 percent. The number of long-term unemployed was down by 150,000 compared with the previous month to around 2.1 million.

 

Paccar Parts opens $32 million distribution center

Paccar Parts has opened a new $32 million, 160,000-square-foot distribution center in Renton, Wash., according to a news release. The center will service dealers in the Northwestern U.S. and Western Canada. 

The Renton distribution center includes a 15,000-square-foot small-parts mezzanine with state-of-the-art equipment. A 125 percent increase in capacity of parts is expected at the new facility, with the storage of more than 39,000 different parts. 

A 50-person training room and interactive “Paccar Parts Experience” will also be featured. The interactive feature demonstrates Paccar Parts distribution network, products and services to visitors. Featuring a 3-D model of the distribution center, the Paccar Parts Experience demonstrates the efficiencies and innovative technologies that provide superior levels of customer service.

 

U.S. DOT: Trucks moving more than 67 percent of NAFTA freight

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in February trucks moved more than 67 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Freight movement was down in three of five modes.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by 2 percent compared with January when freight went down nearly 5 percent from the previous month. February marks the first month-to-month increase since last October. All modes carried less freight when compared with February 2015 except for trucks and rail.

Year-to-year, NAFTA freight was down every month in 2015.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $57 billion of the $84 billion of imports and exports in February. Rail came in second with more than $13 billion. 

Vessel and pipeline freight when compared with last year contributed to the yearly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow due to plummeting crude oil prices, according to BTS. Freight totaled $84 billion, up $1.6 billion from the previous month and down $1.7 billion from February 2015.

Vessel freight experienced the steepest decline at 41 percent, a steeper drop than January’s 37.3 percent decrease. Together, all modes are down 2 percent from last year.

Nearly 62 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at nearly 17 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 2 percent compared with February 2015. Of the $41.4 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 74 percent of the loads.

 

Truck show dates make May a busy calendar month

Truck show season is underway and May’s calendar features events across the country featuring some of the industry’s most eye-catching trucks. Check Land Line’s Industry Calendar periodically for updated information.

If you are near Earlville, Iowa, on May 6-7, swing by the Midwest Pride in Your Ride Truck and Tractor Show. Pride in Your Ride will feature show trucks, antique farm tractors, a truck pull, truck drag racing and more. The event will take place at the Tri-State Raceway. For more information, visit MidwestPrideInYourRide.org.

One day after the Pride in Your Ride Show, the Make-A-Wish foundation in Philadelphia will be hosting its 27th annual Mother’s Day Truck Convoy. From 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 8 at Burle Industries off of Route 23 in Lancaster more than 300 trucks will be participating in a convoy that will leave at 1:30 p.m. sharp. Other activities include live music, BBQ, games, auctions and more. Visit the website by clicking here for details.

On May 12-14, Kenly 95 Petro in Kenly, N.C., will be hosting the 5th annual East Coast Truckers Jamboree. The “Gear’d Up” show will feature motorcycles, cars and street trucks in addition to the big rigs. Live music includes John Berry on Friday and Jim Quick and the Coastline Band on Thursday. Go to Kenly95.com for additional information.

The American Truck Historical Society is planning its National Convention on May 26-28 at the Oregon State Fair and Expo Center in Salem, Ore. Last year’s show featured a variety of trucks, both antique and new. Everything from old-school pickup trucks to B-model Macks to Marmons and everything in between can be seen. Visit ATHS.org for more information.

 

FMCSA reports 830 trucks affected by Volvo recall still not fixed

Approximately 830 Volvo 2016-2017 VNL, VNX and VNM trucks subjected to the large scale steering recall are unaccounted for, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. On Tuesday, the agency issued a recall update with a reminder that these vehicles should not be operated “as they pose an imminent hazard and are to be immediately ordered out-of-service by federal and state roadside safety inspectors.”

On March 31, Land Line reported Volvo recalling nearly 20,000 trucks because of a substantial defect with the steering. The defect is so significant that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has urged owners to take affected vehicles out of service as soon as possible or face penalties.

Some trucks may be missing a roll pin on the steering shafts, potentially disconnecting the lower steering shaft from the junction block. Additionally, the bolt connecting the upper steering shaft to the lower steering shaft may not have been properly tightened. Both situations can cause the steering shaft to separate.

On March 25, nearly 14,000 affected trucks had been fixed or taken out of service, approximately three-fourths of all trucks affected by the recall. 

Volvo Trucks North America spokesperson John Mies confirmed to Land Line that the company will reimburse customers for “reasonable towing and/or rental expenses.”

Any drivers wanting to make a claim must submit it in writing to Volvo Group North America LLC, Attn: Steering Shaft Recall, 7900 National Service Road, Greensboro, N.C. 27409. Make sure the affected vehicle’s VIN is included as well as supporting documents justifying the amount being requested. An itemized breakdown of each expense must be included.

Repairs to affected trucks can only be done by someone authorized by Volvo Trucks. To find the nearest shop, drivers should call Volvo’s customer support line at 877-800-4945.

Owners can call Volvo at 877-800-4945 and choose option No. 1. Volvo’s recall numbers for this campaign are RVXX1602 and RVXX1603. This recall supersedes safety recall 15V-786.

 

 

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