Trucking Biz Buzz

Volvo opens new Customer Experience Track

Volvo has opened a 1.1-mile Customer Experience Track at their New River Valley assembly plant in Dublin, Va.

As a way to show off their Class 8 vehicles during tours and special events, the track includes a paved road course with banked corners and an off-highway area with a variety of surfaces and grades. The track is designed to simulate some of the more difficult work environments that truckers face every day.

Employees of Volvo skilled in design, excavation and heavy machinery were used to build the track, according to a company press release.


Anheuser-Busch sued for rest period rights

In California, two truck drivers who work for Anheuser-Busch InBev are suing the company for $5 million.

The class action lawsuit says the company failed to pay overtime and discourages delivery truck drivers from taking paid rest periods or meal breaks, despite a written company policy providing for them.

The St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch was bought for $52 billion in 2008 by a partnership of Belgian and Brazilian brewers.


Freight Transportation Services Index declines after four months of increases

The Freight Transportation Services Index dipped 0.9 percent in June to 119.1, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Statistics. This marks the first decrease after four months of increases.

The TSI measures month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles. Measurements include data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.

TSI’s updated index is 25.9 percent above the record low of 94.6 from April 2009 during the recession. The highest index number occurred during May 2014.

Spending for construction went down for June, leading to the lower index of transportation shipments. Pipelines received the biggest hit in June, compared to other modes of freight transportation.


Cummins celebrates 40 years in the engine business

It seemed as if the entire community of Jamestown, N.Y., was there to help Cummins Engine celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Jamestown engine plant.

The 1 million-square-foot facility was purchased by Cummins in 1974 to produce engine components, but by 1979 it was turning out complete engines. Today, it produces all Cummins heavy-duty truck engines, which include the ISM and ISX 12; the Cummins Westport ISX 12 G spark-ignited natural gas engine; and a best-selling diesel engine in North America, the ISX 15.

The occasion was marked by an open house for the community and retired employees, displays of noteworthy trucks and engines, plant tours, and greetings from representatives of state and local government.


Spot rates steadily declining into August

Spot truckload load volume was stable while national average van and refrigerated rates slipped during the week ending Aug. 9, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

The overall number of loads posted declined 1 percent compared to the previous week while the number of available trucks increased slightly (0.2 percent). The overall load-to-truck ratio decreased 1.2 percent to 7.7 nationwide, meaning there were 7.7 loads posted for every truck available on DAT load boards during the week.

The national average van rate dropped 6 cents (down 2.9 percent) to $2 per mile (including a 1-cent fuel surcharge decrease). Load availability rose 1.7 percent while posted capacity increased 1 percent for the week. The national van load-to-truck ratio remained at 3.1 loads per truck.

The national average reefer rate fell 9 cents (3.8 percent) to $2.26 per mile. The number of posted refrigerated loads increased 4.3 percent and capacity increased 1.1 percent compared to the previous week; the resulting refrigerated load-to-truck ratio was 9.2 loads per truck. Slowing volumes from central California are having an impact on rates, and other produce-heavy regions have yet to fill the void. However, rates for reefer loads remain 11 cents higher than August 2013.

Flatbed rates inched up 1 cent (0.4 percent) unchanged as a national average at $2.45 per mile. Load availability decreased 4.2 percent while capacity was virtually unchanged at plus 0.8 percent. The resulting load-to-truck ratio fell 4.9 percent compared to the previous week, from 36.4 to 34.6 loads per truck.

The national average fuel price was $3.84 a gallon, down 1 cent from the previous week.

Load-to-truck ratios represent the number of loads posted for every truck posted on DAT load boards. The load-to-truck ratio is a sensitive, real-time indicator of the balance between spot market demand and capacity. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates. Rates are derived from DAT RateView. 


Clean Energy opens 27 natural gas fueling stations

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. reports that to date,  it has completed and opened 27 natural gas fueling stations across the United States, expanding the so-called “America’s Natural Gas Highway.”

Of the 27 fueling stations, nine are truck-friendly. According to the company, 10 locations have also upgraded their equipment and have increased their compression capacity to keep pace with demand.

In related news, Clean Energy reports that G & P Trucking and Raven Transport have announced plans to deploy heavy-duty natural gas trucks. G & P is based in South Carolina and Raven Transport serves the Southeast region.


Delo Pick-Up Your Truck sweepstakes is underway

Is your personal vehicle of choice a pick-up truck? Chevron has announced the Delo Pick-Up Your Truck sweepstakes. Participants will have a chance to win a 2014 Ford F-250 diesel truck and other prizes.

To enter, visit their website or go to the Delo Facebook page. In order to enter through the Facebook page, participants must “like” the page first. The sweepstakes will run from Aug. 1 through Sept. 30.

Prizes include:

  • Grand prize: 2014 Ford F-250 diesel truck, valued at approximately $54,000; and
  • First prize (10 awarded): Delo gift pack valued at $150 that contains a Delo tool bag, toolkit, bobble head, towel and $50 gift card..

The sweepstakes is open to adults who are legal residents of the United States and Canada. No purchase is necessary.


Navistar hit with another lawsuit over MaxxForce engines

Legal actions are flying over the now defunct MaxxForce engine and its EGR emissions system.

According to a news release from San Diego-based law firm Finkelstein & Krinsk, California and Washington-based motor carrier Par 4 Transportation is suing Navistar to recover monetary losses from excessive downtime, repairs and “tarnished good will.”

“These Navistar engines have cost buyers and lessees, from large fleet owners to small businesses, millions of dollars in damages,” attorney Mark Knutson said, according to the release. “The practice of Navistar threatens the livelihood and reputation of innumerable businesses. The firm intends to hold Navistar responsible for the poor quality of its engines and reimburse all those damaged.”

Though Navistar moved away from EGR – exhaust gas recirculation – two years ago, the technology’s hangover appears to be far from over.

In July 2012, Navistar announced it was ceasing production of 15-liter MaxxForce diesel engines for Class 8 trucks and halting the production of all EGR-only technology in other Class 8 engines. The Environmental Protection Agency had previously notified Navistar it could be fined up to $285 million for selling back-dated engines during the 2010 engine transition and Navistar’s inability to meet federal NOx emissions standards.

The company soon partnered with Cummins to introduce engines with selective catalytic reduction – or SCR – emissions systems and fired former CEO Daniel Ustian.

Trucks with affected engines include the following Class 7 and Class 8 models: International ProStar, Lonestar International Transstar, International Workstar, Paystar, International Loadstar.

Those who have experienced a loss from affected Navistar trucks can contact the law firm at 877-493-5366.


Werner Enterprises expanding

Omaha-based Werner Enterprises is planning to expand its operations in China. The Omaha World Herald reports the company is buying part of a Chinese logistics business to complement the truck fleet and warehouse network it already has in place.


Swift unable to find enough drivers

Stock in Swift Transportation dropped 16 percent in value on Friday, July 25, after the company announced it cannot find enough drivers and that the shortage will hurt future earnings.

That is according to the New York Post, which reports that Swift says increasing competition in the driver market has created a bigger turnover rate than expected.



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Aug/Sept Digital Edition