Navistar Sued Over International MAXXForce Engines

Navistar Sued Over International MAXXForce EnginesPosted: Jul 9, 2014 03:20 PM | Last Updated: Jul 9, 2014 03:20 PM

LISLE, IL — Three trucking companies are suing truck and engine maker Navistar International, claiming that Navistar did not tell them about defects and problems with its Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2010 MaxxForce engines.
The carriers want “to recover lost profits due to the unreasonable downtime, out-of-pocket expenses related to the breakdowns and the diminished value on trade-in or resell for the units due to their excessive repair histories and failure to be EPA 2010 emissions regulations certified,” according to a press release.
Law firm Miller Weisbrod claims Navistar misled its clients about the exhaust gas recirculation technology on the engines, including them being certified to meet the EPA’s 2010 emissions standards.
The law firm is representing Americorp Xpress Carriers, Texas; First Express, Tenn.; and Floyd Blinsky Trucking, Washington, in the suits.
The carriers claim they’ve had repeated and excessive breakdowns on their trucks powered by the MaxxForce engines, including components such as the EGR cooler, EGR valve, turbochargers, and clogged fuel injectors.
The lawsuits involve model years 2011 and 2012 International tractors with MaxxForce engines. They also name the clients’ respective International truck dealers, who sold and/or performed repairs on their tractor-trailers. The cases were filed in state courts in Dallas, Nashville, and Tacoma.
“Our investigation has revealed the problems with the MaxxForce engine are pervasive throughout the trucking industry. Our firm is representing numerous other companies and anticipate filing dozens of more cases in states across the country,” said Clay Miller, partner, Miller Weisbrod.
Navistar stopped making the 15-liter MaxxForce Class 8 heavy-duty diesel engines in July 2012 and was abandoning the use of its EGR-only technology on all Class 8 engines.
When contacted about the lawsuit, Navistar spokesperson Elissa Maurer said, “As a matter of a company policy, we don’t comment on pending litigation.”

U.S. Fleets Look to Grow, GE Capital Says

U.S. Fleets Look to Grow, GE Capital SaysPosted: Jul 9, 2014 02:32 PM | Last Updated: Jul 9, 2014 02:32 PM
GE found 42 percent of respondents expect increasing margins at their firms in the coming year.
COLUMBUS, OH— GE Capital surveyed over 400 U.S. fleet execs and found that most fleets are  looking to add more employees and grow their businesses in the next year.
Most of the participating companies predict improved revenues for the next year and most firms expressed confidence in both local economies and the U.S. economy on the whole.
By the numbers, the survey found:
27 percent of execs expect to expand their fleets over the next year;
50 percent said they forecast industry expansion that warrants fleet growth;
51 percent believe fleet costs will rise in the next year;
Fleet execs think their capital expenditures will rise by 39 percent on average.
Roughly two-thirds of the executives at the helm of companies with sales between $10 million and $1 billion said their firms saw 65-percent better performance along with 69-percent better financial performance compared to a year ago.
Nearly half of companies surveyed say their firms will add workers. Employment at these companies is expected to grow at an average rate of thee percent year-over-year.
Top Business Challenges
The biggest cost increases in the past year came from fuel and maintenance, particularly in older vehicles and unexpected repairs. As companies look for ways to maintain margins, many are considering alternative fuel vehicles (AFV) to reduce the impact of rising fuel costs.
Top three concerns:
• The cost of health care;
• Ability to maintain margins;
• Ability to continue to grow revenue.
What fleets said about AFVs:
Four percent currently operate AFVs;
48 percent plan on adding them in the near future;
Of that 48 percent, 64 percent plan to add AFVs in the next two years and 92 percent expect to deploy them within five years;
30 percent primarily lease new vehicles;
28 percent used cash in hand.
The surveyed fleets were part of a number of different industries, including construction, automotive, healthcare services and products, telecom and media, food and beverage, retail and trucking.
The average revenue of the surveyed companies that operate vehicle fleets was about $191.8 million, while the fleets averaged 1,439 employees.
More information on these and other industries is available at gecapital.com/cxosurvey.

Pilot Flying J OK to Pay Back Customers, Auditors Say

Pilot Flying J OK to Pay Back Customers, Auditors SayPosted: Jul 9, 2014 02:16 PM | Last Updated: Jul 9, 2014 02:16 PM
KNOXVILLE, TN — Pilot Flying J’s auditors have checked the travel stop chain’s numbers and found the truckstop correctly calculated the amount owed to trucking companies in the aftermath of a federally-investigated fuel rebate program.
 Accounting firm Horne LLP reviewed Pilot Flying J’s earlier internal audit as a condition of its federal class action settlement late last year in which the truckstop operator identified companies it owed money to.
Only three months after an FBI raid on Pilot Flying J offices, Horne reviewed almost 8,000 accounts from early 2005 to mid 2013.
Pilot Flying J and its CEO Jimmy Haslam have denied any foul play, with Haslam also denying any knowledge of the suspected scheme to scam customers out of owed money—allegedly funneling those monies into company pockets to inflate profits.
Ten former Pilot Flying J employees have pleaded guilty for their roles in the scheme, but none have been sentenced and are reportedly cooperating with officials who are continuing their investigation.
The truckstop company isn’t out of the woods yet, however, as it still faces several other lawsuits from companies that refused to take Pilot Flying J’s settlement, which is now estimated to cost over $90 million. 

Students Haul Scholarship Money to College

Students Haul Scholarship Money to CollegePosted: Jul 9, 2014 02:06 PM | Last Updated: Jul 9, 2014 02:06 PM
STOUFFVILLE, ON — This year, the Ontario Trucking Association Education Foundation awarded two Don Anderson scholarship awards, each to students going into their first year of post-secondary education.
The 2013 winners are Thas Ganeshathasan, who will go to Mohawk College to study electrical engineering, and Madison Langlois, who will go to Durham College to complete a marketing-business program.
“Being from a very ‘hands-on’ type of business, we think that it’s important to encourage students to pursue practical learning through education and training at the college level,” said Michael Anderson, president of Don Anderson Haulage Limited.
Gormley, ON-based trucking company Don Anderson Haulage awards two scholarships to students, based on academic merit, who plan on attending college for business or technology.
Anderson said he values this annual opportunity to provide post-secondary financial assistance to students graduating from local high schools.

Cervus Buys Peterbilt Ontario Truck Centres for $25.5M

Cervus Buys Peterbilt Ontario Truck Centres for $25.5MPosted: Jul 7, 2014 10:56 AM | Last Updated: Jul 9, 2014 10:52 AM
CALGARY — Cervus Equipment has announced a deal to buy Peterbilt Ontario Truck Centres for about $25.5 million.
“Cervus strives to be an outstanding dealer of trusted and reliable brands, and we grow our business in partnership with strong manufacturers such as Peterbilt,” said Graham Drake, president and CEO of Cervus.
Cervus already owns Peterbilt dealers in Western Canada as well as John Deere, JCB Construction, Bobcat, Clark, Doosan and Sellick equipment dealers. It has 56 dealerships in Western Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
“This acquisition extends our relationship with Peterbilt and expands our transportation business into the largest freight market in Canada,” Drake said.
Peterbilt Ontario Truck Centres has been serving Ontario for over 33 years and has 12 locations across the province and makes about $157 million a year in revenues.
The deal is subject to approval and is expected to close by July 21.

L.A. Port Truckers Strike, Cargo Could Divert to Canada

L.A. Port Truckers Strike, Cargo Could Divert to CanadaPosted: Jul 8, 2014 01:45 PM | Last Updated: Jul 8, 2014 01:45 PM
LOS ANGELES, CA — Port truck drivers from three of Los Angeles’ leading drayage firms began indefinite strikes on Monday morning over claims of unfair labor practices at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The action is the fourth such strike in the past 11 months and is an escalation from prior ones that were just 24 to 48 hours long, all with the backing on the Teamsters Union.
But a larger strike may be looming over U.S. ports and it could affect the freight flows here in Canada. The current six-year labor contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) expired on June 30 at midnight. The two sides have been negotiating since May 12.
“While there will be no contract extension, cargo will keep moving and normal operations will continue at the ports until an agreement can be reached between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union,” the two organizations said in a joint statement.
The National Association of Manufacturers and the National Retail Federation reported that a 10-day strike at West Coast ports could cost the U.S. economy about $2.1 billion a day and result in the loss of 169,000 jobs.
But what’s more, North American and global trade would be significantly impacted by a prolonged strike or labor disruption.
The major West Coast ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Portlant, Seattle, and Tacoma handled 11.2 million cargo containers in 2013, which represents 69 percent of the USA’s total retail containers.
If all American West Coast ports strike, cargo could divert to the East Coast, Mexican and Canadian ports. That could mean port congestion and increased truck traffic along the U.S.-Canada border.
Some strike woes:
Containers bypassing the West Coast altogether;
A possible railroad embargo to and from the West Coast ports to control the flow of rail cars, avoiding a backlog. Vancouver falls under the BCMEA, not ILWU, but intermodal cargo moving through the American West Coast can’t be rerouted through Vancouver;
Volume redirected to the East Coast and Gulf ports are advised to plan ahead and secure inventory in advance since those systems cannot accommodate all the extra traffic;
Ocean carriers are preparing for work stoppages at West Coast ports by posting a precautionary Port Congestion Surcharge (PCS). The surcharge applies to both reefer and dry shipments—$800 per TEU and $1000 per FEU. The surcharge will be applied to all shipments destined for or originating in the USA, including all shipments to and from Mexico and Canada.
What can be done to safeguard imports and exports?
While both the ILWU and PMA are confident a deal will get done, the rest of the supply chain could consider a back-up plan.
Here are some ideas:
Find alternatives. Work with an experienced logistics provider to develop a plan to ensure the flow of merchandise;
Ship the most predictable merchandise first. This will enable product to arrive at destinations in a timely manner before any labor dispute occurs;
Look into alternate port routings. See if there are any routing options at unaffected Canadian and East Coast ports;
Consider other modes of transporting goods. Look at sea-ground and air freight options to minimize cost increases;
Prepare in advance for delays and stoppages at ports;
Stay updated on the status of the negotiations.

Manitoulin Expands Further Into Manitoba

Manitoulin Expands Further Into ManitobaPosted: Jul 7, 2014 01:09 PM | Last Updated: Jul 7, 2014 01:09 PM
GORE BAY, ON — Manitoulin Transport  has purchased Jomac Transport of Winnipeg.
Manitoulin officials state that this investment in Western Canada builds on Manitoulin’s 2013 purchase of Smooth Freight of Brandon and provides Manitoulin with comprehensive ground coverage throughout Manitoba.
“Nothing says commitment to a region like providing complete coverage and by acquiring Jomac we now have  Manitoba covered,” said Don Goodwill, president, Manitoulin Transport.  “Jomac was very appealing to us because of their strong customer relationships, high quality of service, disciplined approach to operations, and because they have a company culture similar to our own.”
Jomac provides daily overnight freight-shipping service between Winnipeg and three northern communities in Manitoba: Thompson, Flin Flon and The Pas. From its northern docks, it also delivers to most outlying areas in the north such as Lynn Lake, Leaf Rapids, Gillam, Norway House, Cross Lake, and Snow Lake.  Jomac Transport also services remote communities during winter road season. Under the terms of the purchase agreement, all of Jomac’s assets and employees will be absorbed by Manitoulin Transport.
“We believe our customers and employees will be in good hands with Manitoulin,” said Wes MacLean, president, Jomac Transport.  “This merge will certainly benefit companies in Manitoba as Manitoulin can provide more extensive coverage and services to help bring their business to the next level.”  MacLean will be staying on at Jomac Transport in a consulting role as it transitions to Manitoulin.
“We said a few years ago that we were committed to rounding out our services and reach in Western Canada, and we made good on that commitment,” said Gord Smith, CEO, Manitoulin Group of Companies. “Not only can customers in the region send and receive shipments quickly and reliably with Manitoulin Transport, they also benefit from being able to access the full global suite of transportation and logistics services through the Manitoulin Group of Companies.”

Class 8 Truck Orders Remain Strong in June

Class 8 Truck Orders Remain Strong in JunePosted: Jul 7, 2014 11:30 AM | Last Updated: Jul 7, 2014 11:30 AM
COLUMBUS, IN — North American heavy and medium-duty truck orders remained stable though the month of June, according to freight forecasters at  ACT Research.
Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst commented: “With seasonal tendencies dampening expectations, North American Class 8 net orders [were] on the high side in June at 26,600 units. That volume marked an improvement of two percent from May and 41 percent compared to year-ago June.”
Vieth added that that seasonal adjustment boosts June’s Class 8 order total to 29,200 units, or 351,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR).
“On that basis,” Vieth continued, “June was the strongest order month since January. Since October, Class 8 orders have been booked at a 318,100-unit SAAR.”
North American truckers ordered 41,300 trucks classes 5-8 in June and 541,900 booked units annually.
Classes 5-7 orders, which posted the highest number of bookings since 2006 in April, slightly slowed in May and June as bookings returned to normal. Net orders did fall nine percent from May and one percent from June 2013 to 14,700, but Vieth said that’s typical for summer months.
“Given that June is typically a soft order month, seasonal adjustment boosts the month’s MD order intake to 15,600 units (187,000 SAAR), representing the weakest seasonally-adjusted order intake since December,” Vieth said. “Over the past six months, Classes 5-7 net orders were booked at a 214,600-unit SAAR. Over the past 12 months, actual orders have totaled 209,600 units.”

Keeping Up the Tire Pressure

Keeping Up the Tire PressureBy Jim Park, Posted: Jul 7, 2014 11:17 AM | Last Updated: Jul 7, 2014 11:17 AM
TORONTO — What’s a few psi between friends? A thousand dollars, maybe more, if you’re unfortunate enough to suffer a tire failure somewhere off the beaten track. Inadequate inflation pressure is the leading cause of blowouts, surpassing even road strikes and curbing incidents.
“You don’t go from properly inflated to a blowout instantaneously unless you hit something on the highway,” says Curtis Decker, manager of product development at Continental Tire. “We estimate that about 80 percent of the roadside tire failures are a direct result of creeping air loss.”
In other words, 80 percent of blowouts could be prevented if tires were kept properly inflated.
There is a well-founded expectation that tires will lose two percent of their inflation pressure, by volume, over about 30 days even when the casing, the valve stem and the tire bead/rim flange contact area are in perfect condition. The problem with that line of thinking is that people are inclined to say, “I guess I only need to check my tires about once a month.” Wrong.
Decker says it’s uncommon to find a perfectly sealed tire/wheel assembly, so the actual rate of seepage could be as high as two percent per week, or two percent per day if there are other irregularities, such as puncture wounds from nails, a contaminated rim flange or bad valve stem.
“If you build your tire-maintenance practices around what you’re told is normal air loss, you’re going to get caught on the back side of the curve,” he warns. “At best, you’ll see irregular wear related to inflation, poorer fuel mileage, etc. At worst, the tire will blow out because it has been run flat and damaged by excessive sidewall flex and deterioration of the rubber compounds.”
Of course, you still have to determine what constitutes proper inflation, and that’s a chore unto itself. Tire manufacturers make inflation pressure recommendations based on the size and construction of the tire and on the load the tire carries. It’s worth noting that it’s not the tire itself that supports the load, but the volume of air inside the tire. In most cases, a larger tire can support heavier loads at the same pressure.
If you check Bridgestone’s load and inflation tables, for example, you’ll notice that the same tire in 22.5-in. and 24.5-in. sizes (both load range G) have different weight ratings at the same pressures. An 11R22.5 single at 100 psi is good for 5,950 pounds, while an 11R24.5 can carry 6,350 pounds. That’s because the 24.5-in. tire contains a larger volume of air to support the load.
Fleets can run into problems here because there’s an inclination to accept “traditional” or standard pressures for certain wheel positions, regardless of the load, application or tire construction. Historical thinking puts steer axles at 12,000 lbs, for example, but many steer axles today are running at 13,000 lbs or higher, thanks to emissions hardware and other factors.  
As Goodyear’s director of product marketing innovation, Donn Kramer, puts it, “For a 12,000-lb. axle in sizes 11R22.5 and 295/75R22.5, fleets generally would use a load range G tire with single load carrying capacity of 6,175 lbs. at 110 psi cold inflation. For a 13,000-lb. axle in sizes 11R22.5 and 295/75R22.5, fleets should use a load range H tire with a single load-carrying capacity of 6,610 lbs. at 120 psi cold inflation.”
The load range rating of the tire ensures the tire is capable of carrying the weight at a given pressure while maintaining the same footprint and amount of sidewall flex. Tire manufacturers may take different approaches to the design and construction of their tires when it comes to load range, but all are designed to meet certain government and industry standards.
In the tire makers’ eyes, any tire that is run at a higher load than a prescribed pressure allowed is considered overloaded. In other words, on a steer axle rated for 12,000 lbs, each tire has to be capable of carrying a 6,000-lb load. If, based on Michelin’s inflation tables, a typical 11R22.5 load range G tire was inflated to 100 psi, it would carry only 11,900 lb. at 12,000 lb it would be overloaded. What if time and inattention had let that pressure dwindle to 90 psi? It would be overloaded by almost 1,000 lb.
The same principles apply to drive and trailer tires, but the margins for error are a little wider. Typically, a drive or steer tire (295/75R22.5) inflated to 100 psi is good for around 5,300 lb (depending on the manufacturer) in a dual setup, or 43,000 lb in a tandem grouping. Even with Canada’s higher weights, there’s still a margin of up to 800 lb per tire.
Running in a fully loaded 17,000-kg tandem grouping, that tire would still be okay with as little as about 85 psi before being considered under inflated. On an 18,000-kg grouping, you’d have to maintain at least 95 psi. That margin disappears fast as axle weights increase. The tire people say tires should always be inflated to the maximum load you expect to haul, so if you’re running heavy in Ontario and Quebec, air pressure maintenance is more critical than it would be in the western provinces or Atlantic Canada.
Paul Crehan, director of Product Marketing at Michelin Americas Truck Tires, advises users to check the load and inflation tables for recommended inflation pressures for particular tires, and not to assume “100 psi” is good enough in all cases.
“Our Data Book contains inflation charts for all our truck tires,” he says. “A customer locates the tire’s size on the sidewall and then can utilize the table for proper inflation. These charts are broken down by wheel diameter and the specific PSI for singles and duals. The maximum load and pressure on sidewalls are also listed.”
The same applies to the other premium brands. It can be a confusing process, but tire suppliers are always willing to help. 
Even with all the technology we can throw at tires today, the most basic yet the most important is maintaining adequate inflation.
“If a fleet has nothing else but a good air-pressure maintenance program, it will reap substantial benefits over having no program at all,” says Doug Jones, customer engineering support manager, Michelin Americas Truck Tires.
It needn’t be elaborate, but it has to be consistent, Jones says. On the upper end of the spectrum, there are tire pressure monitoring systems on the market that self-report and upload tire pressure data regularly and automatically. Some contain full reports from mileage, age, wheel position, temperature and pressure; some report only exceptions. On the other end of the spectrum, pencil and paper will work just as well for smaller fleets.
Here are Doug Jones’ top five steps to good tire inflation management:
1) The fleet tire-management program should be written, communicated, monitored and enforced. Appoint someone to check the tire pressures.
2) Establish target pressures and maintain them with calibrated air pressure gauges and trained employees willing to diligently check the pressures.
3) Conduct regular yard checks or tire pressure audits, document the results and take appropriate action.
4) Establish a routine for tire maintenance and inspections, including tire rotation, vehicle alignment and wheel and valve cap service.
5) Consider outsourcing tire management. If you don’t have the time or resources to set-up and run a maintenance program, there are many reliable outlets that can help. 

Cervus Buys Peterbilt of Ontario for $25.5M

Cervus Buys Peterbilt of Ontario for $25.5MPosted: Jul 7, 2014 10:56 AM | Last Updated: Jul 7, 2014 10:56 AM
CALGARY — Cervus Equipment has announced a deal to buy Peterbilt of Ontario for about $25.5 million.
“Cervus strives to be an outstanding dealer of trusted and reliable brands, and we grow our business in partnership with strong manufacturers such as Peterbilt,” said Graham Drake, president and CEO of Cervus.
Cervus already owns Peterbilt dealers in Western Canada as well as John Deere, JCB Construction, Bobcat, Clark, Doosan and Sellick equipment dealers. It has 56 dealerships in Western Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
“This acquisition extends our relationship with Peterbilt and expands our transportation business into the largest freight market in Canada,” Drake said.
Peterbilt Ontario Truck Centres has been serving Ontario for over 33 years and has 12 locations across the province and makes about $157 million a year in revenues.
The deal is subject to approval and is expected to close by July 21.