Trucking Biz Buzz

BP to lay off 7,000 employees after damaging fourth quarter

After fourth-quarter results tanked more than 90 percent, BP has announced that it will eliminate approximately 7,000 jobs, according to a BP press release. Shareholders are expected to keep the dividend.

Profit results for 2015 plunged by 51 percent to $5.9 billion compared with 2014’s report of $12.1 billion. Fourth quarter results for 2015 were $196 million, down 91 percent when compared to the $2.2 billion reported in the fourth quarter in 2014.

Despite the steep plummet reflected in the fourth quarter results, stockholders are expected to receive dividends. According to BP, a dividend of 10 cents per ordinary share for the quarter will be payable in March.

Negative fourth-quarter results came to no surprise as oil prices have also experienced a dramatic fall. Both WTI and Brent crude oil hit 12-year lows in January as prices steadily declined in the weeks and months preceding 2016. Oil prices increased briefly in the last week of January before decreasing again on Feb. 1.

BP did not go into detail as to which employees will be affected by the massive layoff. According to the press release, 4,000 staff and contractors in the upstream sector and 3,000 in the downstream sector will be affected. The upstream sector includes the search for, recovery and production of crude oil and natural gas. Downstream sector jobs include refining of crude oil and the marketing and distribution of products derived from crude oil.

 

CVSA officer explains inspections in new OOIDA video

If you are a professional truck driver, and you drive long enough, you are going to get pulled over for a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspection. It doesn’t matter if you are new to driving or if you have been pulling loads for years, eventually you will get pulled over for an inspection.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has created a video of a CVSA inspection and asked a Missouri Department of Transportation CVSA inspector to explain what he is doing while providing answers to the five most commonly asked questions:

  • What triggers an inspection?
  • Why do some drivers get inspected more often than others?
  • Who does the inspection?
  • What are they looking for?
  • What’s the difference between a Level-1, Level-2 and a Level-3 inspection?

Other topics covered include CVSA decals, common problems found during an inspection, which violation will not place a vehicle out of service, and more.

The CVSA inspector and former Missouri Highway Patrol officer will guide you through the inspection from the point of view of law enforcement, providing drivers with the insight needed to comply with inspection regulations. Watch as the CVSA inspector gives OOIDA Senior Member and Association tour truck driver Jon Osburn a mock inspection.

The CVSA inspection video is free and runs approximately 25 minutes.

The video is part of OOIDA’s Online Business Education and can be found at OOIDAOnlineEducation.com. Just click the link, go to the “Education” tab and find the “CVSA Inspections – Level I, II, and III Inspections” class. The video will also soon be available on OOIDA’s Business Education YouTube page.

While visiting the Online Business Education website, check out other classes addressing a variety of topics including taxes, costs of operations, drug and alcohol regulations, insurance, load boards, and hours of service.

 

Caterpillar to shut down five plants, 670 jobs affected

As part of global restructuring and cost reduction efforts announced last September, Caterpillar Inc. has announced that it will close five plants. The closures will eliminate approximately 670 jobs, according to a Caterpillar statement. Facility consolidations, closures and job cuts will affect workforces in seven states and China.

The Caterpillar plant in East Peoria, Ill., will consolidate manufacturing operations to other facilities and outside suppliers. The change in operations, which will begin this year and end in late 2018, will affect 230 jobs. An additional 120 employees will be placed on an indefinite layoff due to low demand for mining products. Both office and production positions are affected by the move.

Caterpillar’s facility in Prentice, Wis., will move production to facilities in LaGrange, Ga., and Victoria, Texas. Approximately 220 jobs in Prentice will be eliminated. Employment in the Georgia and Texas facilities is not expected to be affected. The Prentice facility transition is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Facilities in Santa Fe, N.M., and Thomasville, Ga., will also be closed. The Santa Fe facility expects about 50 jobs to be affected by the closure. Caterpillar estimates that approximately 200 jobs will be impacted at the Thomasville facility. However, operations for the two facilities will be consolidated into the facility located at Pontiac, Ill. Approximately 160 jobs will be added to the Pontiac plan as a result.

Operations at a plant in Tongzhou, Jiangsu province, in China will move to the facility in Aurora, Ill. Although 40 jobs at the China plant will be affected, there is no expected impact in employment at the Aurora location.

Other consolidation and transfer efforts are planned, but are not expected to affect employment. The recent closures and layoffs are estimated to lower operating costs amid “challenging marketplace conditions,” according to a Caterpillar statement.

 

Issue with service brakes prompts recall of Vanguard van trailers

Vanguard National Trailer Corp. is recalling certain 2014-2015 dry freight van trailers due to issues with the service brakes, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document.

More specifically, Vanguard dry freight van trailers manufactured from Nov. 22, 2013, to Nov. 12, 2014, that are equipped with certain Haldex Life Seal Type 30/30 Long Stroke Air Brake Actuators are affected. According to the NHTSA document, affected vehicles may experience brake drag due to an improperly seated diaphragm in the brake chamber. Wheel end fires may occur as a result of brake drag.

Owners of affected vehicles will be notified by Vanguard, who will replace the actuators free of charge. Recalls are expected to begin in February. For more information, contact Vanguard customer service at 888-253-3008 with the recall number 15E-017.

 

Love’s opens new location in Holcomb, Kan.

Truckers driving through western Kansas will have more rest area options. Love’s Travel Stops has opened its fifth location in Kansas in the city of Holcomb at the intersection of U.S. Highway 400/50 and North Big Lowe Road.

Like most Love’s Travel Stops, the location in Holcomb, Kan., includes gourmet coffee, an expanded fountain drink selection, fresh fruit, and gift items for professional drivers. Two showers, 36 truck parking spaces, RFID cardless fueling and Cat Scales are also featured at the Holcomb truck stop.

Holcomb is also home to the third Sonic Drive-In in a Love’s travel stop. The Sonic Drive-In at Love’s features seated tables for those with vehicles too large for the drive-in. Love’s in Holcomb will also include a Subway restaurant.

For more information about Love’s locations, visit Loves.com.

 

XPO cuts 190 non-driver jobs in its LTL operations

XPO Logistics has cut approximately 190 jobs as part of its previously announced synergy plans in its less-than-truckload acquisition from Con-way, according to a press release.

The majority of layoffs involved non-sales positions, with 160 of those jobs eliminated. Of those job cuts, the majority were in administrative, management and back office functions. Less than 1 percent of the LTL workforce in North America was affected, according to the press release. Approximately another 30 positions were cut as a result of redundancies from the acquisition of Con-way.

XPO expects to save more than $20 million in annual costs from the job cuts. Since XPO acquired Con-way last October, the logistics corporation has earned about $50 million of expected annualized savings.

In an interview with Bloomberg last September, XPO CEO Bradley Jacobs said that drivers were “very important” and XPO intended to keep all the drivers. To date, the majority of layoffs have occurred in the administrative, management and executive offices.

 

Lucas Oil launches stock car racing app

Truckers into stock car racing may have the ability to keep up with coverage no matter where they are. MAVTV and Lucas Oil have teamed up to launch LucasOilRacingTV, an app covering stock car racing and six Super Cup Stock Car Series (SCSCS) events.

MAVTV coverage includes the SCSCS series opener from Columbus Motor Speedway in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday, June 18; followed by a doubleheader on July 9 from Jennerstown Speedway in Jennerstown, Pa., before revisiting Jennerstown Speedway on Aug. 27.

The SCSCS season points finale will be held at Motordrome Speedway in Smithton, Pa., on Saturday, Sept. 17. Each MAVTV/SCSCS show will be 30 minutes long. Air dates and times will be announced at a later date.

In its ninth season, SCSCS is a reformulation of the Late Model Hooters Cup Series. SCSCS teams campaign steel-bodied, 600hp, V8 Chevrolets and Fords on quarter and half-mile asphalt tracks across the Midwest.

For more information, visit mavtv.com.

 

DOT: NAFTA freight dropped $8 billion in November

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in November trucks moved more than 66 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by nearly 9 percent when compared with October when freight went up nearly 4 percent from the previous month. All modes carried less freight when compared with November 2014.

Trucks were responsible for more than $58 billion of the $88.2 billion of imports and exports in November. Rail came in second with a contribution of 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 $88.2 billion, down more than $8 billion from the previous month and down more than $8 billion from November 2014.

Pipeline freight experienced the steepest decline at nearly 43.2 percent, an improvement compared to October’s 52 percent decrease. Trucks experienced the lowest decline with a drop of only 0.4 percent. Across all modes, there was an 8.4 percent decrease when compared with the previous year.

More than 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.3 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 1.9 percent compared with November 2014. Of the $43 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 72 percent of the loads.

Year-to-date, NAFTA freight has been down every month in 2015.

 

APHIS adjusts fees for Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection program

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has amended its old user fee regulations by adding new categories and adjusting current charges. In order to minimize pest risks, vessels, trucks, railroad cars, aircraft, and international passengers arriving at ports in the customs territory of the United States are provided quarantine and inspection services. The fees are to recoup the cost of that service.

As of Dec. 28, 2015, the agency also adjusted or removed the fee caps associated with commercial trucks, commercial vessels and commercial railcars. For commercial trucks with a transponder, the final rule increases fees from $105 to $301.67 a year, and commercial trucks without a transponder from $5.25 to $7.55 per crossing.

“If imported cargo needs to be treated to minimize pest risks, the APHIS will charge a fee for that, too,” says Dale Watkins of OOIDA’s Business Services Department.

The fee is for treatment services to remove invasive animal or plant pests that have been found in cargo shipments. The fee, which is scheduled to be phased in over five years, starts out at $47 the first year, before reaching $237 by the fifth year. The agency has published the new fees on its website here.

In a press release announcing the publishing of the final rule, the agency says the new fees are designed to recoup the costs of conducting Agricultural Quarantine Inspections at U.S. ports of entry. The release states that the fee adjustment is based on an independent evaluation by an outside accounting firm and that the fees were also subject to an economic analysis.

“Under the new fee schedule, the U.S. Government will recover approximately $113 million more in revenue each year, providing total estimated annual revenue of $748 million on over $2.7 trillion in commercial goods and tens of millions of air and sea passengers entering the United States each year. This increase will ensure the financial stability of the AQI program, while minimizing the impact of fee changes on the U.S. economy and small businesses,” the release stated.

The agency used data from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to determine that approximately 91 percent of trucks use transponders rather than pay a per-crossing fee.  

Editor-in-Chief Sandi Soendker contributed to this report.

 

Meritor launches latest version of Toolbox diagnostics software

Meritor Wabco has announced the latest version of its Toolbox software. Toolbox is a PC-based diagnostic software that expedites vehicle diagnosis, increases uptime, and optimizes work for technicians.

Toolbox 12 includes support for anti-lock braking systems, electronic braking systems and hydraulic power brakes. OnGuard Active diagnostics, aftermarket electronic control unit programming updates, and an improved quick-start guide are also part of the latest Toolbox software.

For a limited time, customers who possess a Toolbox 11 license can upgrade to Toolbox 12 for $99. New Toolbox customers can purchase Toolbox 12 at a base price of $299. Discounts can be added for volume purchases.

The program’s basic functions include the following:

  • Static displays (ECU numbers) and dynamic displays (RPMs) for a system being tested;
  • Displays for active and stored system faults as well as appropriate repair instructions;
  • Activation of components to verify system integrity, correct component operation, and installation wiring;
  • Direct digital access to product maintenance manuals; and
  • Aftermarket ECU programming updates.

For more information, visit Meritor’s website at MeritorWabco.com or call Meritor’s OnTrac tech support center at 866-OnTrac1 (866-668-7221).

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