Trucking Biz Buzz

New fuel charge coming for Canada

If you haul natural gas in Canada, you may soon have to pay a new fuel charge.

The Canada Revenue Agency says anyone doing business in certain provinces will have to register with the agency as part of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. The fee applies to anyone who produces, imports or delivers marketable and nonmarketable natural gas in Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nunavut, Ontario, Saskatchewan or Yukon.

The charge is completely separate from the International Fuel Tax Agreement, or IFTA.

The deadline for registration is April 1 for Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan; and July 1 for Nunavut and Yukon. Failure to comply could result in a fine of $2,000.

For more information on the program and how to register, click here.

Army & Air Force Exchange Service honors Vietnam vets with tribute trailers

Vietnam veterans are being honored with a special tribute via a custom truck design that will decorate tractor-trailers delivering merchandise to Army and Air Force base exchanges.

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service debuted three new 53-foot rolling billboards for their trucks, delivering a message of thanks to those who served during the Vietnam War.

The tribute was designed by Johnny Olson, creative director for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service. Olson served in the Marine Corps during the Gulf War.

Olson said the images on the trailer wrap come from the National Archives.

“The tractor that we have on this truck has an American eagle with a flag behind it, and that transitions into the truck wrap which we carry that same flag that’s on the cab into the front of the trailer,” he told Land Line Now.

The message reads: “On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you for your service and sacrifice.” Alongside the message is an image from the National Archives of a young soldier, and in the background names carved into the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall can be seen.

The Exchange created the custom truck design to express gratitude to Vietnam Veterans. The Exchange also plans and conducts events to recognize the service, valor and sacrifice of Vietnam veterans and their families in partnership with the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration.

“It’s so important we always remember these Veterans’ service,” Exchange Director and CEO Tom Shull, who served in the Army during the Vietnam era, said in a news release. “The Exchange is grateful for our Vietnam veterans and for the opportunity to thank them with this special truck design.”

The three trucks will transport goods from the Exchange’s continental U.S. distribution centers to service members throughout the country. The Dayton, Ohio truck terminal; Dan Daniel Distribution Center in Newport News, Va.; and the Waco Distribution Center will each have a truck in service on their standard delivery routes.

In addition to being out on the road, the trucks will also be on display at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, and Fort Carson, Colo., for the National Vietnam War Veterans Day ceremonies on March 29.

The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration is a program administered by the Office of the Secretary of Defense to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. The Commemoration was authorized by Congress, established under the secretary of defense and launched by the President in 2012. It will continue through Veterans Day 2025.

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service provides goods and services to soldiers, airmen and their families at exclusive military pricing. Since November 2017, all honorably discharged veterans can now shop the Exchange tax-free for life at ShopMyExchange.com.

OOIDA’s Truck to Success attendees dive into owner-operator details

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. – The first day of OOIDA’s Truck to Success seminar today laid the groundwork for attendees to think through the business plan that could bring them to being owner-operators.

About 50 people attended the class, a 2½-day intensive training for those ready to take their first steps toward becoming an owner-operator. Truck to Success continues through Thursday.

Driver Peter La Salle, a driver with 17 years of experience whose home base is in Savannah, Ga., said he was attracted to becoming an owner-operator so he could have more control over what routes and lanes he drove. Nice as that seems, though, he has many questions to work through, he said.

“My biggest thing in speaking with other truck drivers or owner-operators – they seemed to have a lot of different information. I was seeing a lot of owner-operators falling into the same traps,” La Salle said.

Often leased owner-operators feel trapped, he said, because a company can switch your routes and pay, and while under contract you have to stick it out to make your payments.

Angel Burnell, OOIDA chief of staff, was part of the OOIDA team welcoming attendees. She shared an overview of OOIDA history and its corporate structure. One of the things that makes OOIDA unique is that revenue from OOIDA truck insurance and other services helps fund an organization dedicated to fighting for the rights of all truckers.

Lewie Pugh, executive vice president of OOIDA, shared advice on buying new trucks, including knowing where you’re running and what you need when spec’ing a truck. He also said he is a big fan of buying extended warranties.

“Somewhere along the way, that $3,000 or $4,000 you paid for an extended warranty will pay for itself,” he said.

Pugh and Andrew King, OOIDA research analyst, began a discussion on tracking costs

“Money saved is money earned,” King said. “Controlling cost is where it’s at.”

King demonstrated ways to determine debt ratios and expense ratios and calculate variable and fixed costs. One tool drivers can use is at the OOIDA Foundation website. Under the “Tools” pulldown menu is a “Cost of Operation Spreadsheet” that drivers can fill out. It will automatically calculate net company income and gross profit margin.

Your salary should be included in your cost of operations, Pugh said.

“If you aren’t paying yourself more than you would make working for someone else, you might as well go and work for someone else,” Pugh said.

Getting a handle on costs is one of the most important things to do before becoming an owner-operator, he said.

“Two things you are going to hear over and over here are that you need to know the cost of operation and you need to read the contracts,” Pugh said.

Ron Ziegler, a salesman for Kansas City, Mo.-based Arrow Truck Sales, coached attendees on the first day of the seminar about buying used trucks. Drivers need an equipment plan, matching a truck to how you plan to use it. A financial plan is needed, and it is a tough part of the equation, Ziegler said.

“Because of people not like you here, who didn’t think it through and plan it out and learn what they need to know – they’ve made it so the banking industry is really giving us a hard look,” Ziegler said.

Also, a business plan, how you’re going to get paid, is mandatory.

Margo Fries, manager of OOIDA’sEquipment Finance Department, discussed financing. She said when buying used equipment there is a “CarFax for trucks” called RigDig.com. With a truck VIN, you can get an in-depth report on a used semi you are considering. Also, she suggested, calling original equipment manufacturers with a truck VIN can give you dealership records of used trucks.

The second day of the Truck to Success seminar has discussion of medical benefits, authority, permits and licensing, insurance, drug and alcohol regulations, and business structures and taxation. The third day, the agenda has load boards, brokers and other topics.

December NAFTA marks worst month in two years

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in December trucks moved nearly 62 percent of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Only trucking and rail freight experienced a year-to-year increase.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by more than 10 percent compared with November, when freight increased by 7 percent from the previous month. This is the largest month-to-month decrease since July 2017, when NAFTA freight dropped by nearly 11 percent.

Compared to December 2017, freight was down nearly 1 percent, breaking a 25-month streak of year-to-year increases. The last year-to-year decrease occurred in October 2016 when NAFTA freight dropped nearly 4 percent.

In 2017, 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 2017, the largest decline for the year.

In March 2017, 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 2017 and maintained through November 2017 before dipping below the $100 billion mark again in December. March marked the first month in 2018 to reach beyond $100 million, where it stayed through November. December’s numbers break that nine-month streak.

Trucks carried more than $57 billion of the nearly $93 billion of imports and exports in December.

Year-to-year, Canada truck freight decreased by nearly 4 percent, whereas Mexico freight rose by 5.5 percent. Top truck commodities were computers and parts, electrical machinery, motor vehicles and parts, plastics and measuring/testing instruments.

Freight totaled $92.668 billion, down more than $108 billion from the previous month and a decrease of more than $800 million from December 2017. December’s total NAFTA freight value is the lowest since July 2017 when it was valued at $89.75 billion.

Rail freight accounted for the largest increase at 4.1 percent after an increase of 3.9 percent in November. Trucks had the second highest increase at 1 percent. Truck freight experienced increases of 3 percent in November and 9 percent in October. Pipeline freight had the largest decrease at 22.8 percent after reporting an increase of 7.1 percent in November.

Approximately 56 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 17 percent. Of the nearly $47 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 68 percent of the loads.

Shell Rotella plans SuperRigs truck contest for July 25-27

The 37th annual Shell Rotella SuperRigs is scheduled for July 25-27 at Trail’s Travel Center in Albert Lea, Minn.

The Shell Rotella SuperRigs competition is truck beauty contest for actively working trucks. Owner-operator truckers from across the United States and Canada will compete for more than $25,000 in cash and prizes. Twelve drivers will be selected to have their trucks featured in the 2020 Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar.

There is no fee to enter the SuperRigs competition. The Wednesday-through-Saturday event is designed to be family friendly.

Highlights include a fireworks display, a truck lights competition, music throughout the weekend and a barbecue lunch for competitors.

Land Line Magazine Managing Editor Jami Jones will return once again as one of the judges for the event. She joins Red Eye Radio’s Eric Harley, and trucking industry journalists Steve Sturgess and Cliff Abbott.

Trails Travel Center Petro is at the intersection of I-35 and I-90. Take Exit 11 from I-35.

Trail’s Travel Center has more than 300 truck parking spaces, the Skol Tavern sports bar, Iron Skillet Restaurant, a gift store, a fresh to-go bar, and other amenities. Rocky Trail and his father, Bernard Trail, bought East Side Truck Stop in the early 1980s. The present facility at 820 Happy Trails Lane was built in 1998.

Trail’s Travel Center was named one of the coolest rest stops in the world by the Travel Channel, according to an article in the Albert Lea Tribune.

The Shell Rotella SuperRigs Truck Beauty Contest began in 1982 as a way to bring together and recognize hard-working drivers from throughout the trucking industry.

Trucks entered in SuperRigs are judged by industry professionals who work for major trucking publications or broadcast companies.

To register and for more information about Shell Rotella SuperRigs, visit Rotella.com. Event registration is recommended, but not required.

For updates on SuperRigs and Shell Rotella products and programs, follow Shell Rotella on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Trucking jobs up slightly in February

Net transportation jobs fell in February, the largest monthly drop since January 2017. The transport sector lost 3,000 jobs, largely because of plummeting courier/messenger jobs.

The truck transportation subsector experienced a modest increase of nearly 1,000 jobs in February after the industry gained more than 5,000 jobs in January and more than 3,000 in December. February marked the smallest increase since the trucking subsector lost 5,000 jobs in April 2018. Numbers for February and January are preliminary.

Warehousing and storage experienced the largest increase in the sector for the second consecutive month with nearly 4,000 additional jobs, followed by transit/ground passenger transport at 2,400 and air transportation with the third most at 2,100 more jobs. Couriers/messengers subsector experienced a significant decrease with nearly 10,000 fewer jobs in February, with scenic/sightseeing transport at a distant second with a decrease of nearly 2,000 jobs.

Two months into 2019, trucking jobs are at a net increase of 6,000 for the year. Transport jobs are at a net increase of 26,600.

In 2018, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 200,000 jobs, up from 2017’s net increase of more than 185,000 jobs. Compared to the previous month, there was a net increase in jobs in every month in 2018 except December. February accounted for the largest one-month increase, with more than 28,000 jobs in the sector added to the economy. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net gain of 43,800 jobs in 2018, significantly higher than 2017’s net increase of 16,100 jobs.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector was $24.55 for February – up sharply 13 cents from January. Earnings were up 35 cents from February 2018. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees went up a nickel to $22.12 from the previous month and up 52 cents year to year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $27.66, an 11-cent increase from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 3.4 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material-moving occupations increased slightly to 5.1 percent, compared with 5.0 percent in January. However, the rate increased significantly from 6.1 percent a year ago. Overall unemployment decreased 0.2 percentage points to 3.8 percent. The number of long-term unemployed was mostly unchanged at 1.3 million, accounting for 20.4 percent of the unemployed.

Mack recalls nearly 4,000 trucks with rearview mirrors that can detach

Mack Trucks is recalling nearly 4,000 trucks of various models due to issues with the rearview mirrors, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall documents.

More specifically, certain model year 2019-20 Mack Anthem, Granite and Pinnacle trucks are affected by the recall. In affected trucks, the passenger-side door down-view mirror may detach from the door, according to NHTSA. If the mirror detaches from the door, the mirror may strike another vehicle or pedestrian, increasing the risk of injury or crash.

The following models are affected by the recall (all model year 2019-2020):

  • Anthem (AN).
  • Granite (GR).
  • Granite (GU).
  • Pinnacle (CHU).
  • Pinnacle (CXU).
  • Pinnacle (PI).

Mack will notify owners of affected trucks and have dealers properly attach the mirror for free. Recalls are scheduled to begin sometime in March. For questions, call Mack customer service at 800-866-1177 with recall number SC0416. NHTSA’s number for this recall is 19V-054.

Nearly 4,000 Carrier APUs being recalled

Carrier Corp. is recalling nearly 4,000 auxiliary power units as a result of a faulty power supply harness, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

Recall documents show that certain Carrier ComfortPro 210STA and PC6112 are affected by the recall. The APUs use a second power supply harness that is not protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) connector, according to NHTSA. Without that connector, an electrical short can increase the risk of injury.

Carrier will notify owners of affected APUs and have dealers install a GFCI connector for free. The recall is scheduled to begin sometime in March. For questions, call Carrier customer service at 800-448-1661 with recall number R-964. NHTSA’s number for this recall is 19E-006.

More than 1,000 Volvo VNLs with clutch issue recalled

Volvo Trucks North America is recalling more than 1,000 Volvo VNL trucks over an issue with the clutch assembly. The recall is similar to recalls issued by Paccar and Daimler Trucks North America that affected more than 30,000 trucks.

More specifically, Volvo is recalling 1,220 model year 2018-19 Volvo VNL trucks with automated manual transmissions. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents, an internal component in the clutch assembly may fail, possibly resulting in unintended vehicle movement.

Volvo has already notified owners of affected trucks. Dealers will update the transmission control module software for free. For questions, call Volvo customer service at 800-528-6586 with recall number RVXX1901. NHTSA’s number for this recall is 19V-032.

Earlier this year, Daimler recalled nearly 7,000 Freightliner and Western Star trucks for the same issue. Paccar recalled more than 25,000 Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks with automated manual transmissions that also had a compromised clutch assembly.

Finalists for Goodyear Highway Hero Award announced

One of three truck drivers who put themselves in harm’s way to help others will be honored with the Goodyear Highway Hero Award later this month.

Darrell Atkins, from Alvaredo, Texas; Don Frederick, from Kimbolton, Ohio; and Paul Mathias, from Phoenix are finalists for the annual award, which will be announced at a ceremony on March 28 in Louisville, Ky., during the Mid-America Trucking Show.

“Since it was established in 1983, the Goodyear Highway Hero Award has recognized truck drivers who demonstrate extraordinary bravery and selflessness,” Gary Medalis, Goodyear marketing director, said in a news release. “We look forward to honoring this year’s Highway Hero Award finalists, each of whom took decisive action to save lives.”

Atkins was driving on an Arizona interstate when he witnessed a vehicle containing an elderly couple get struck from behind, flip over and come to a stop on a grassy median. Atkins worked with a bystander to extract the driver, who was hanging upside down by her seatbelt. Even as gasoline began to leak, Atkins continued to remove her husband and the couple’s three dogs from the car and remained with them until emergency crews arrived.

Frederick was driving along a state highway in Ohio when he witnessed a coal truck flip onto its side while making a turn. He removed the damaged truck’s back window, reached into the vehicle and applied direct pressure to the wounded driver, who was bleeding heavily and trapped by the truck’s steering wheel. As the truck began to emit smoke, Frederick freed the driver’s legs and worked with a bystander to help the driver exit the truck. He continued to render first aid until the emergency crews arrived.

Mathias had just stopped his truck at a red light in Phoenix when he saw a vehicle slam into an SUV that contained a mother and her two children. He instructed the mother to perform CPR on her son and comforted the daughter as she passed away from her injuries. Mathias then returned to the boy and proceeded to administer CPR to him until emergency crews arrived and took over. The boy survived.

The winner will receive a cash reward and ring. The winner will be determined by a panel of trucking journalists. Each finalist will receive a trophy.

Frank Vieira won the 2018 award for helping save a person’s life after a crash in Toronto.

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