Trucking Feed

NAFTA redo would drop cross-border trucking requirement

If President Trump wants to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement, a group of House Democrats is ready and willing to provide the blueprint. Led by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D.-OR), the ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the resolution introduced Thursday includes a provision that would remove the cross-border trucking requirement—a long-problematic clause in the current trade deal.

“For the first time in nearly a quarter-century, we have an opportunity to replace NAFTA and build a fair trade policy that works for all Americans,” said DeFazio. “After working with labor stakeholders and fair trade advocates, we have come up with principles that will serve as the foundation of a sustainable trade policy that will bring jobs back to the U.S. while protecting America’s environment, workers, consumers, and sovereignty.”

The resolution has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO, Teamsters, United Steelworkers (USW), International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), Communications Workers of America (CWA), Public Citizen, and Citizens Trade Campaign.


Trucking exec ‘stuns’ senator with safety stats | Commerce hearing

A leading Senate proponent of more strict truck safety regulations called it “stunning,” after hearing the details of fleet-wide accident reductions through investment in advanced safety systems—but the CEO of one of the country’s largest trucking companies quickly explained that the trucking industry didn’t need more regulations, just the “right” ones.

The Wednesday hearing by the Senate Commerce subcommittee on surface transportation was scheduled to focus on federal highway funding, but senators’ questions and testimony from Schneider National CEO Chris Lofgren veered to safety regulations, state labor laws, trucking’s competition and cooperation with rail, and even the impact of White House trade policy on freight.


Rising fuel prices driving up US trucking costs

Higher fuel prices are likely to jack up transportation costs for US shippers this year by pushing up fuel surcharges. Steadily rising US diesel fuel prices already are pushing up surcharges added to freight rates, reversing a two-year trend that cut into the revenue and earnings of truckers and intermodal operators as fuel prices plummeted.

The impact was evident in fourth-quarter trucking earnings. Fuel surcharge revenue at J.B. Hunt Transport Services rose year-over-year for the first time in eight quarters, climbing 9 percent to $162.4 million. The intermodal trucker’s fuel surcharge revenue declined 64 percent from the third quarter of 2014 through the 2016 first quarter.

Although J.B. Hunt's fuel surcharge revenue has risen sequentially since the second quarter last year, the fourth-quarter gain was the first annualized increase since J.B. Hunt’s surcharge revenue hit its $284.2 million peak in 2014.


ATA Infrastructure Group Urges Action on Funding

WASHINGTON — Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and congressional funding leaders were urged to resolve the nation’s long-standing shortfall in infrastructure development during meetings with American Trucking Associations’ Infrastructure Task Force.

The delegation convened Feb. 7-8 to speak with policymakers about how better roads and bridges can help broadly improve the country and the movement of freight. They insisted that politicians can no longer afford to postpone critical decisions on funding.

“We have a significant stake in this issue, and we’re going to help get a bill across the finish line,” ATA President Chris Spear said. “Rebuilding infrastructure is not just important to us [in trucking] but to all Americans, and I can’t think of anyone better to speak about this than those in trucking.”


Cummins Fourth-Quarter Income Rises as Revenue Dips

Independent engine maker Cummins Inc. posted higher fourth-quarter net income and slightly lower revenue.

Net income for the period ended Dec. 31 jumped to $378 million, or $2.25 per diluted share, compared with $161 million, or 92 cents, a year earlier.

“Despite weak conditions in a number of our largest markets, Cummins delivered fourth-quarter results that were a little better than expected due to our strong market share in on-highway markets in North America and the benefits of our cost reduction work,” Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger said in a statement.


Pallet by pallet, US LTL trucking demand grows

US less-than-truckload carriers rolled out of 2016 a bit battered, but more confident that 2017 would bring stronger freight volumes, higher rates, and better profit margins. Several publicly owned companies reported fourth quarter improvements in tonnage or shipments that carried into the first quarter of 2017, usually the slowest quarter of the year for truck freight.

The fourth quarter “marked the first time since the fourth quarter of 2014 where we saw both LTL shipments and tonnage per work day rise on a year-over-year basis, which is an encouraging statistic,” Rick O’Dell, president and CEO of multi-regional LTL operator Saia, told Wall Street analysts Feb. 3. “In January, our LTL shipments per workday were up 1.9 percent and LTL tonnage per workday rose 1.5 percent compared to January of last year,” O’Dell said.

“Our LTL tons per day essentially trended in line or slightly above normal sequential trends for November and December,” David S. Congdon, vice chairman and CEO of Old Dominion Freight Line, said Feb. 2. “This continued into January, as LTL tons per day were also in line with normal seasonality.” Those trends, combined with other macroeconomic indicators, “provided us with a sense of cautious optimism for an improved economy in 2017,” Congdon told analysts.


Trump, trucking and regulations: Takeaways from the first two weeks of the Trump Administration

President Trump and his new administration have been firing off executive orders and memos at a breakneck pace since Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration, including a few swipes at federal regulations. If the barrage of Trump news left you a little dizzy, here’s a quick look at the key trucking-specific happenings from the new administration in its first two weeks.

FMCSA adjusts driver training rule: One of the first actions from Trump was a memorandum to all federal agencies freezing all new regulations. The only trucking regulation directly impacted by the memo is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s December-published Entry-Level Driver Training rule. The rule was two weeks out from its scheduled effective date, thus falling under Trump’s regulatory freeze. FMCSA has delayed the effective date to March 21, pending a review by the new administration. The rule’s compliance date — Feb. 7, 2020 — has not been changed, however. Read the original story at this link.


2017 a year of Trucking Milestones for Daimler - Behind the Wheel

It’s an historic year for some of the best-known and most popular truck industry brands with three significant milestones set to be passed.

Daimler Trucks will be celebrating key anniversaries of Freightliner Trucks, Detroit Diesel and Western Star Trucks in 2017.

Freightliner celebrates 75 years, Western Star hits 50 and Detroit Diesel reaches the eighty year milestone.


Kenworth Predictive Cruise Update Ups Fuel Economy

The update was made with the launch of 2017 emission engines and provides up to a 1% improvement in fuel economy over the current versions with Predictive Cruise Control, according to Patrick Dean, Kenworth chief engineer.

Kenworth’s Predictive Cruise Control combines GPS with cruise control to deliver the best fuel economy for the situation.  The system optimizes cruising speed based on topographical GPS data inputs. As the truck encounters certain types of terrain, such as rolling hills, the system modulated cruising speed to improve performance.

If, for example, a truck ascends and crests a hill, Predictive Cruise Control will allow the vehicle speed to drop slightly below the set cruise speed. This can improve fuel economy since the truck is using momentum instead of fuel to maintain the set cruise speed.


California Truckers File Lawsuit Against Engine Filter Rule

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A group of California trucking companies has filed a lawsuit against the California Air Resources Board, alleging diesel particulate filters have caused truck fires.

KNTV-TV reports that a number of trucking businesses are challenging the state's rules requiring the filters, arguing they are expensive and dangerous. They are also calling for restitution for truck repairs.

The California Air Resources Board began requiring diesel particulate filters in 2007. The devices trap harmful soot produced by diesel engines.

This is Alliance for California Business owner Bud Caldwell's second lawsuit attempting to roll back the filter requirement. In March, a Glenn County judge ruled in favor of the state.

Caldwell says the new lawsuit, filed in Sacramento County, has more evidence of exhaust fires than the first attempt.