Trucking Biz Buzz

Nominations being accepted for third annual Transition Trucking award

For the third consecutive year, Kenworth, Fastport, and Hiring Our Heroes are teaming up to discover America’s top rookie military veteran driver.

The nomination process for the third annual Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence Award begins Thursday, March 15. Nominations will be accepted until June 30.

Just in past years, Kenworth will provide the winner a new Kenworth T680 Advantage equipped with a 76-inch sleeper, PACCAR MX-13 455-hp fuel-efficient engine and PACCAR 40,000-pound tandem rear axle.

“Kenworth recognizes the importance of our veterans, and the donation of our on-highway flagship Kenworth T680 – the driver’s truck – is one way to thank them for their military service,” said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. “We encourage those transitioning from military service to consider the trucking industry as their future career and urge fleets in America to nominate their best drivers who have served to protect our country.”

The annual award aims to encourage military veterans to make the transition into the trucking industry. About 200,000 service members transition out of the military into the private sector each year.

“Hiring Our Heroes helped more than 16,000 new veterans make the transition into trucking last year,” said Eric Eversole, U.S Chamber of Commerce vice president and Hiring Our Heroes president. “The 2018 Transition Award campaign is another opportunity to highlight the impact veterans are making in the transportation industry and introduce a new generation of veterans to the real economic opportunity a career in trucking can represent.”

To be nominated, the driver:

  • must be a military veteran or a current or former member of the National Guard or Reserves;
  • must have graduated from a certified driver training school and be a current CDL holder;
  • must have been employed by any for-hire carrier or private fleet that has pledged to hire veterans through; and
  • must have been first employed as a truck driver between Jan. 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018.

Full criteria and nomination forms can be found here.

Gregg Softy won in 2017, and Troy Davidson won the inaugural award.

Thousands of Morgan truck bodies recalled; Paccar, Freightliners affected

Morgan Corp. is recalling nearly 8,000 truck bodies used on the chassis for a variety of truck manufacturers, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. Issues with water getting into the electrical system can affect turn signals.

More specifically, certain Morgan truck bodies with model years 2013-2018 built on Isuzu, Kenworth, Mercedes, Chevrolet, GM, Freightliner, Mitsubishi and Peterbilt chassis are being recalled. Water may enter part of the wiring harness and affect the turn signal operation.

Owners of affected vehicles will be notified by Morgan. Dealers will either replace or modify wiring harnesses at no cost. Recalls are expected to begin on Thursday.

For questions, contact Morgan customer service at 800-666-7426 with recall numbers FRWI-517 and FRWI-518. The NHTSA recall number is 18V-145.

Trucking industry experiences significant job increase

For the 13th consecutive month, transportation jobs overall scored gains in February. The transport sector netted more than 15,000 jobs to the economy. Trucking jobs also went up after modest gains in January.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of 5,600 jobs in February after the industry gained 2,200 in January and lost 600 in December. This marks the highest monthly employment increase since May 2015, when nearly more than 8,000 trucking jobs were added. Numbers are preliminary and are likely to change in the coming months.

Trucking experienced the largest increase followed by transit/ground passenger transportation and “support activities for transportation” at a little more than 3,000 additional jobs each. Rail transportation experienced the only loss within the transportation sector, with 400 fewer jobs in the marketplace in February.

In 2017, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 74,000 jobs. In every month except January there was a job increase compared to the previous month. September accounted for the largest one-month increase, with nearly 22,000 jobs in the sector added to the economy. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net gain of 10,400 jobs in 2017.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $24.18 for February – a 2-cent decrease from January and up 59 cents from February 2017. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced an increase of five cents to $21.67 from the previous month and a 67-cent increase year to year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26.75, a four-cent increase from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.6 percent, or 68 cents.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material-moving occupations decreased to 6.1 percent, compared with 7.3 percent in February 2017, and down from 6.8 percent in January. The overall unemployment rate remained stagnant at 4.1 percent for the fifth consecutive month. The number of long-term unemployed was unchanged at 1.4 million, accounting for nearly 21 percent of the unemployed.

Fuel-efficient prototype ‘StarShip’ hits the road in May

Shell Lubricants and AirFlow Truck Co. have designed and built a fuel-efficient Class 8 truck that they call the “StarShip Project,” and they plan to give it a road test in May.

The StarShip Project uses available technology to minimize the energy required to transport cargo. The holistic approach includes aerodynamic design, advanced engine and drive train technology, low viscosity synthetic lubricants, efficient driving methods and other means.

With the StarShip Project, AirFlow and Shell say they aim to reduce the energy used in transporting goods through improved fuel economy for a Class 8 truck and measure it in freight ton efficiency.

The body of the StarShip Project tractor, including the side skirts, hood and front end, is made of carbon fiber. A wrap-around windshield was designed for the truck.

The trailer has energy efficient features such as full side skirts to reduce drag and a 5,000-watt solar array on top of the trailer to power interior accessories and reduce the energy load.

The StarShip Project truck is powered by a 2017 Cummins X15 Efficiency six-cylinder engine with 400 horsepower and 1850-foot pounds of torque. The standard engine has been calibrated with the transmission to run at very low speeds and down to 800 rpm.

Shell was consulted on technical aspects of the engine and drivetrain components in addition to lubricant needs for use in the Starship Project truck. The engine will run on Shell Rotella T6 Ultra 5W-30, a low viscosity API FA-4 engine oil formulated to provide better fuel economy and improved high and low temperature performance.

The truck uses several full synthetic Shell Lubricants products, including Spirax S6 GXME 75W-80 transmission oil, Spirax S5 ADE 75W-80 differential oil and Spirax S6 GME 40 wheel hub oil. Also, the truck uses Shell Rotella Extended Life Coolant and Shell Rotella diesel exhaust fluid. 

The StarShip Project gets a cross-country road test in May that will begin in California and end in Florida carrying a real load of cargo: clean reef material destined for a new reef installation off the coast of Florida later this summer.

Newington, Conn.-based AirFlow Truck Co. has previously built two aerodynamic and fuel-efficient Class 8 tractor-trailers, the first in 1983 and the most recent in 2012. The most recent rig, dubbed the BulletTruck, ran coast-to-coast hauling freight at 65,000 pounds gross vehicle weight and averaged 13.4 mpg.

Shell Lubricants refers to several companies engaged in the lubricants business of Royal Dutch Shell PLC, The Hague, Netherlands, that are engaged in the lubricants business.

Cooper develops improved tire for professional drivers

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has a new tire available May 1.

Cooper offers TBR (truck and bus radial) tires for three levels of application: Pro Series for long-haul; Work Series for regional-haul, pick-up and delivery; and Severe Series for mixed service.

The Pro Series are manufactured from proprietary compounds and tread design to provide a balance of fuel efficiency and long mileage. Work Series TBRs offer a balance fuel efficiency and tread life with scrub resistant properties. The Severe Series tires are designed to withstand heavy scrub and cut/chip environments.

Cooper backs the Pro and Work series tires with a seven-year, two-retread warranty with full replacement value on the first 50 percent of tread life.

FlowBelow helps your International ride glide

International LT and RH series trucks can now be fitted with FlowBelow Aero Inc. equipment designed to make the vehicle more aerodynamic.

The Tractor AeroKit system and quick-release wheel covers are offered as optional equipment from International.

The Tractor AeroKit reduces aerodynamic turbulence and drag on the truck by streamlining airflow past the drive wheels. With this option, a 6x2 or 6x4 truck gets wheel covers, center fairings between the wheels, and rear fairings behind the wheels. Wheel covers also can be installed on 4x2 trucks. The fairing system works like fuel tank fairings by helping to control the air flow beside the truck.

The quick-release wheel covers provide easy, tool-free access to the wheel end via patented push-and-turn latching system.

FlowBelow products have International Truck warranties and are available for aftermarket purchase through all International Truck dealers in the U.S. and Canada.

Similar equipment can be factory-installed on your new Strick trailer. FlowBelow’s Trailer AeroSlider is mounted directly to the sliding trailer suspension and that travels with the suspension.  The system is designed to complement other trailer mounted aerodynamic devices such as trailer skirts and tail.

Peterbilt offers OOIDA members a rebate on sleepers

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association members are eligible for a $1,500 cash rebate from Peterbilt Motors Co. on Models 579, 567 and 389 when spec’d with a sleeper.

Members must be in good standing with OOIDA or Landstar for a minimum of 90 days prior to delivery. Rebate checks will be mailed directly to the customer from Peterbilt.

Customers are limited to three unit rebates per calendar year and rebates cannot be combined with any other offers directly from Peterbilt.

Denton, Texas-based Peterbilt provides a comprehensive array of aftermarket support programs through more than 350 North American dealer locations that complement its full lineup of on-highway, vocational and medium-duty products.

For more information about Peterbilt, visit Peterbilt.

OOIDA members invited to celebrate the life of Jim Johnston at MATS

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association will be hosting an event on Friday, March 23, at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., to celebrate the life of its former president and CEO, Jim Johnston. All OOIDA members are invited to attend.

Johnston, 78, died on Jan. 8, following a battle with cancer. OOIDA started in 1973, and Johnston became president in 1975. He continued to serve in that role until his death.

The free open house event is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in conference room B101/102 in the south wing of the Kentucky Expo Center.

All members are invited to meet OOIDA board members, staff and fellow members as the Association acknowledges the extraordinary contribution Jim Johnston made to all professional truckers and to OOIDA’s 45-year history and its growth into the nation’s largest trucker organization. OOIDA Acting President Todd Spencer, as well as others, are scheduled to speak.

For those planning to attend the event, OOIDA asks that you register here so the Association can plan to have the appropriate amount of refreshments and snacks available.

Additional information on the event will be released in the coming weeks.

JJ Keller announces software fix for roadside inspections

J.J. Keller & Associates said it released a software update that fixes data transfer issues some electronic logging devices were experiencing during roadside inspections.

The updates allow for the transmission of log data during a roadside inspection.

“The drivers were having issues getting the data over to the roadside inspectors,” said Tom Reeder, the company’s director of marketing. “The updates we’ve provided have alleviated that. We’re seeing the transmissions come through cleanly, and that’s what we were expecting.”

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had previously granted a short-term exemption for carriers and drivers using certain J.J. Keller ELDs to record hours of duty status. That exemption was scheduled to expire on Feb. 28.

Reeder said the company “personally called” all of its fleet ELD customers to inform them that updates were available. The company also sent out roadside inspection “help cards” to address any other questions about using the devices during roadside inspections.

NAFTA ends 2017 with 14th consecutive monthly increase

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in December trucks moved nearly 61 percent of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. All five modes experienced an increase in freight year to year for the third consecutive month.

The value of freight hauled across the borders dropped 7 percent compared with November, when freight was essentially unchanged from the previous month. March had the largest month-to-month increase (16 percent) since March 2011, when NAFTA freight was up more than 22 percent compared to February 2011. NAFTA freight declined by nearly 11 percent in July, the largest decline for the year.

Compared to December 2016, freight was up 7.4 percent. This marks the 14th consecutive month of year-to-year increases. In nine of 12 months, there was a loss compared to the previous year in 2016.

Although significant, December’s rise was only the sixth largest year-to-year increase in 2017. In March, the index reached more than $100 billion for the first time since October 2014 before going back below that mark in April. That landmark was revisited in October and maintained through November before dipping below the $100 billion mark again in December.

August, November and December were the only months to have a year-to-year increase in 2016, at 0.7 percent, 3.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. August was the first year-to-year increase since December 2014, when freight increased by more than 5 percent.

Trucks carried nearly $57 billion of the $93.51 billion of imports and exports in December. Rail came in second with nearly $14 billion.

Freight totaled $93.51 billion, down more than $7 million from the previous month but an increase of more than $6 billion from December 2016.

Vessel freight accounted for the largest increase at 37.8 percent after an increase of 46 percent in November. Trucks accounted for an increase of 5.4 percent. Truck freight experienced modest increases of 8.1 in November and 5.7 percent in October.

More than 55 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at more than 15 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by more than 5 percent compared with December 2016. Of the $44.8 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 67 percent of the loads.