The Pre-Trip Inspection Nov. 28 – Dec. 3

Trucking and Transportation News

Impending Rail Strike Delivers Late-Year Boom to Truckers

Discussion of an impending strike by railroad union workers scheduled for Dec. 6 has given truck transport companies a new line on premium rates for the last fiscal quarter of 2011. Shippers are already taking precautions by diverting freight to long-haul trucks. In a recent radio interview, Donald Broughton, a senior industry analyst for Avondale Partners said, “The last thing shippers want is to have freight stuck on the rails during the busy retail season.” According to estimates by shipping companies, a freight-rail strike would cost the economy $2 billion per day.

Mexican Pilot Program Co. Transportes Olympic Granted Operating Permit Inside U.S.

The FMCSA has granted Transportes Olympic a permanent operating authority, beginning today. Knowing that this move is very controversial and sensitive, the DOT has attempted to downplay the permanent operating authority in various press releases and various public speaking engagements. Opponents of the bill and the award OOIDA, have vowed to continue to fight against additional operating permits being issued. In a public statement, they note that if Transportes Olympic were treated like any other new motor carrier operating in the U.S., it would have been denied. OOIDA Vice President Todd Spencer went on to say, “They simply are not holding Transportes Olympic to the same standards they require of U.S.-based carriers.” Offices of the FMCSA have not rebutted the accusations at time of press.

Cummins Invests $24 Million in South Carolina R&D Facility

Cummins Opens R&D in S.C.The nation’s leading diesel tech manufacturer has laid plans to hire 31 new workers in engineering, mechanical and electrical tech immediately, with more positions opening in 2012.  “The expansion nearly doubles capacity at this site with state-of-the-art facilities to enable testing on diesel, pipe line natural gas and non standard gas engines and help the Company in its drive to be the innovation leader in the industry,” said Jim Trueblood, VP of the high horsepower engineering division. Read more at the official Cummins site.

Freightliner Calls on College Students to Help Them Evolve

One of North America’s leading tractor trailer manufacturers want you to help them “Think Outside the Cab” and will pay you $20,000 for your trouble. Active college student entrants are invited to submit original designs for the owner-operator style truck of the future. The competition runs from November 2011 through February 2012. Three finalists, selected by a panel of global Daimler commercial vehicle design experts, will receive an all-expense paid trip to the 2012 Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS), where their designs will be on display at the Freightliner Trucks booth. The winner will receive a $20,000 scholarship fund and option for a paid internship at Freightliner Trucks after graduation. More about the contest rules here.

Gunther Shut Down Expands to Clock Transport

After the FMCSA issued a shut down order on November 8 to Maryland-based carrier Gunther Transport, Maryland Highway Safety Violationsinvestigators with the Maryland State Police reveal that Clock Transport suspiciously filed incorporation papers under the name of Mark David Gunther Jr., the son of the owner of Gunthers Transport. After comparing the payload manifest, it became clear to state police and the FMCSA that Clock was set up as a reincarnate carrier designed to help Gunther Transport avoid the shut down order and continue doing business. Over the past two years, 18 trucks for Gunthers Transport were inspected 190 times and were deemed unfit for service more than half the time. The FMCSA considers this as absolutely unacceptable.

Fall Research Papers Show Transportation Industry Set for Expansion in 2012

ACT Transportation Industry Press ReleaseA November report from ACT Research titled “State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers” shows that overall trailer orders from manufacturers rose steadily in October to their highest point in five months.  This announcement was paired with another press release that revealed Class 8 new and net orders rose to six month highs in October, to 29,824 and 28,026 units, respectively. This order flow suggests that 2011 will end strong with production at or above 250,000 units and also sets the stage for a robust 2012. The report covers Class 5 through 8 vehicles for the North American market.

 Teamsters, Public Citizen and Sierra Club Challenge Mexican Pilot Program

Jim Hoffa, current leader of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters announced that his organization along

Hoffa Mexican Pilot Program
Jim Hoffa speaking to airline and transportation workers.

with Public Citizen and the Sierra Club had filed suit against the U.S. Dept. of Transportation over the controversial program that allows Mexican transport companies to bring payloads across national borders without exchanging them to American companies for the next leg of delivery. Hoffa said, “Congress has repeatedly and overwhelmingly set tough safety conditions for any cross-border trucking program, and this one clearly doesn’t meet those conditions.” He went on further to say that the program hurts middle class job retention, violates environmental standards, and unfairly waives safety standards for foreign competitors. The case will be heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.