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Transportation News Bulletins - LTL and TL

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Illinois adopts anti-indemnity legislation
Thursday, 27 August 2009 00:00

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday, Aug. 27, signed into law anti-indemnity legislation that takes effect immediately. The new state law voids any contract provision that a company, such as a manufacturer, asks a motor carrier to sign that attempts to indemnify or hold the company harmless, against any liability for loss or damage resulting from the negligence of the company.

House Bill 3832 was sponsored by Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) and Sen. John Sullivan (DRushville). More than a dozen states have adopted similar anti-indemnification legislation, with many other state legislatures also taking the issue up, according to the Mid-West Truckers Association.

Commercial Carrier Journal, 8/27/2009

 
Truck Companies Announce Emissions Control Technologies
Thursday, 27 August 2009 00:00

In separate announcements, truck maker Kenworth rolled out its diesel-electric hybrid truck and Detroit Diesel completed 25 million miles of testing on its emissions reduction technology.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg helped roll out the city's hybrid-electric Kenworth truck as part of an environmental sustainability effort.

The Kenworth T370 diesel-electric hybrid truck was featured at a press conference held by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to discuss the city’s latest green transportation initiatives. The event took place at the Queens District 5 facility operated by the New York Department of Sanitation.

The Kenworth T370 went into service this past spring as the first medium duty diesel-electric hybrid truck in New York City’s truck fleet. “The Kenworth hybrid truck is already providing cleaner air in the community,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “A clean environment is important to our citizens and clean trucks will play a growing and essential role.”

New York City’s Kenworth T370 hybrid is equipped with a PACCAR PX-6 engine rated at 240 hp and 560 lb-ft of torque, and the Eaton diesel-electric hybrid power system. The Kenworth hybrid’s assignment is to pick up and deliver supplies and parts for the Department of Sanitation’s various locations throughout the New York City metropolitan area. The department expects to introduce three more Kenworth T370 hybrids into service later in the year.

Kenworth hybrids use an integral transmission-mounted motor/generator; frame-mounted 340-volt, lithium-ion battery pack; and dedicated power management system. Electricity generated through regenerative braking is stored and used for acceleration, assisting the diesel engine. The hybrid system is monitored through an in-dash display. As the power requirements for different driving conditions change, the screen constantly updates the driver on system status.

The Kenworth T270 Class 6 and T370 Class 7 diesel-electric hybrid trucks are for use in pickup and delivery, utility, and service applications. Kenworth medium duty hybrid tractors, available up to 55,000-lb GCW, are for local haul applications, including beverage, general freight, and grocery distribution. Purchasers of Kenworth hybrid trucks may qualify for a federal tax credit ranging from $6,000 to $12,000.

In other news, Detroit Diesel BlueTec SCR completed 25 million miles of testing, becoming the most tested and proven emissions reduction technology, according to Detroit Diesel.

By its rollout on January 1, 2010, the Detroit Diesel BlueTec technology will surpass 28 million miles of testing, making it one of the most proven and tested emissions reduction technologies ever, says the company. "We are pleased to have taken full advantage of our early choice of SCR as the best technology for our customers for 2010,” said David Siler, director of marketing, Detroit Diesel. “The 2010 BlueTec technology will be one of most extensively tested emissions technology systems in our company's history, and having this decade of experience has allowed Detroit Diesel and Daimler Trucks North America to not only have an extended period of time for system design and performance refinement but also to gain significant testing and validation experience."

BlueTec will incorporate the enhanced performance of Detroit Diesel's recently introduced DD15, DD13 and DD16 big bore engines, as well as the already proven ACRS fuel system and an integrated enginecompression brake. Detroit Diesel's BlueTec technology includes a 1-Box packaging design optimized for low back-pressure and an all-new, robust DPF material. The BlueTec aftertreatment system will utilize diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) and has been fully optimized for low emissions and high fuel economy, said the company.

Logistics Today, 8/27/2009

 
July Tonnage Up From June, Still Down 10 Percent From ’08
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 00:00

ARLINGTON, Va.—The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.1 percent in July. In June, tonnage fell 2.4 percent. July’s gain, which raised the SA index to 101.9 (2000=100), wasn’t large enough to completely offset the reduction in the previous month.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 106.3 in July, down 0.9 percent from June.

Compared with July 2008, SA tonnage fell 10.4 percent, which was the best year-over-year showing since February 2009. June’s 13.6 percent contraction was the largest year-over-year decrease of the current cycle.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said that truck tonnage will continue to be choppy in the months ahead, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

“It is not unusual for an economic indicator to become volatile before changing direction,” Costello noted.

He said he is hopeful that truck tonnage has finally hit bottom as it has been bouncing around a sevenyear low for the last few months.

“While I am optimistic that the worst is behind us, I just don’t see anything on the economic horizon that suggests freight tonnage is about to rise significantly or consistently,” Costello said. “Still, even small gains are better than the February 2008 through April 2009 cumulative tonnage reduction of 15.5 percent.”

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing nearly 69 percent of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods, the ATA says.

Trucks hauled 10.2 billion tons of freight in 2008. Motor carriers collected $660.3 billion, or 83.1 percent of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 10th day of the month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.

The American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of other trucking groups, industry-related conferences, and its 50 affiliated state trucking associations, ATA represents more than 37,000 members covering every type of motor carrier in the United States.

TheTrucker.com, 8/26/2009

 
Study Quantifies Commercial Driver Distraction
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 00:00

SAN DIEGO—SmartDrive Systems on Wednesday published the results of a large-scale study of commercial fleets to quantify driver distraction and identify the root causes. The company said the goal is to provide fleet managers with an action plan for improving safety.

According to a recent study by the FMCSA, key distracted driving behaviors increase the risk of collisions by as much as 23 times, reinforcing the importance of focusing on driver distractions to minimize collisions. The SmartDrive study investigated more than 50 types of driver distractions, and determined that commercial drivers are distracted an average of 8 percent of active driving time.

The in-vehicle video-based study evaluated video records for distractions that can’t be quantified by nonvideo approaches, such as cell phone usage, texting, use of maps or navigation, eating/drinking/smoking, or any other distraction resulting in drivers taking their eyes off the road for more than two consecutive seconds, or having their hands engaged with something other than driving for more than three consecutive seconds.

The study reviewed nearly 6,200 vehicle-years of data across nearly 25,000 drivers from 384 commercial fleets.

There is evidence that fleets can proactively mitigate the risks of driver distraction. As part of this study, SmartDrive continued to measure ongoing improvement for individual drivers over the initial five months following implementation of the SmartDrive Measured Safety Program, which enables fleet managers to proactively coach drivers using video-based data, scored and prioritized by the SmartDrive Expert Review. The results show significant reductions in key distractions:

  • 54 percent smoking
  • 52 percent maps or navigation
  • 52 percent mobile phone-handheld
  • 51 percent beverage
  • 44 percent mobile phone-hands free
  • 40 percent food
  • 30 percent general distraction

“These recent studies demonstrate the importance of fleets taking proactive measures to minimize the risk of driver distraction in their operations,” said Greg Drew, president and CEO of SmartDrive Systems. “Fortunately, it is possible for fleets to realize significant reductions in specific behaviors. The effort spent can have a dramatic impact on collisions, saving lives and money.”

SmartDrive said it will be participating in the upcoming Distracted Driving Summit in Washington, sponsored by the Obama administration and hosted by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

TheTrucker.com, 8/26/2009

 

 
Diesel Price Rises, Gas Falls
Monday, 24 August 2009 00:00

The national average price for a gallon of diesel fuel rose for a fifth week, climbing 1.6 cents to $2.668 a gallon and reaching its highest point this year, the Department of Energy said Monday.

Diesel has risen 17.6 cents in the past five weeks. Monday’s price left it $1.477 below its year-ago level, when itwas coming off its all-time record $4.764 a gallon, set in July 2008.

Gasoline, meanwhile, fell by 0.9 cents, to $2.628 DOE said.

Light & Medium Truck, 8/24/2009

 
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