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Overdrive Staff | May 04, 2010

With the economic crisis coming to an end, “we’re launching the biggest product offensive in our history,” Renschler says. “Over the next four years, we will practically renew our entire product portfolio. In the next 24 months alone, we have 140 market rollouts of new vehicles and major components.”

Meanwhile, trucks that achieve 10 miles per gallon will be a reality over the next 10 years, Martin Daum, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, told supplier company executives last month at the 20th annual Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association Breakfast and Briefing in Louisville, Ky.

Fuel efficiency will become increasingly important, he said, citing U.S. Department of Energy estimates of $3.89 per gallon diesel by 2014. While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions mandates dating to 2002 have added more than $20,000 to the price of a new truck, they have not provided value for customers, he said.

— Linda Longton and staff reports


Short hauls

WHEN WERNER ENTERPRISES driver Dave Nelson decided to help a stranded motorist on Feb. 10, he saved the life of a 7-year-old girl who was not breathing and had no pulse. Nelson pulled the girl from the car and began CPR. He learned Vicki Carter had a heart murmur, just like his own daughter.

FOR-HIRE TRUCKING ADDED 600 jobs in March over February, and the job losses for February were revised downward by 1,300, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Trucking employment in March was down nearly 64,000, or 4.9 percent, from March 2009.

AMERICA’S MARINE HIGHWAY, a new initiative of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is designed to move more cargo onto waterways. Under the program, DOT’s Maritime Administration will identify rivers and coastal routes that could be used in place of congested roads.

LANDSTAR SYSTEM, the nation’s largest owner-operator carrier, reported a 17 percent increase in first-quarter revenue to $548 million, up from $469 million a year earlier. Net income was $17 million compared to $14 million.

TRANSCORE’S ANNUAL Broker Benchmark Survey shows that after a tumultuous 2009, freight broker numbers are stabilizing. Respondents moved an average 990 loads per month, which was similar to last year’s survey.


Congressmen urge NAFTA changes on trucking

U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and 77 other members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter on April 13 to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and U.S. Trade Representative Ronald Kirk asking they renegotiate the section of the North American Free Trade Agreement that opens U.S. roadways to what the congressional delegation described as “unsafe” Mexican trucks.

“Mexico has no meaningful system for commercial driver’s licenses, drug testing or hours of service,” DeFazio says. “This is a trade agreement that threatens the safety of the American public. Mexico has no right to use tariffs to force unsafe trucks with exhausted overworked, underpaid drivers into the United States.”

DeFazio says objection to the Bush administration’s cross-border trucking program predominantly was due to Mexico’s less stringent regulations on hours of service, vehicle safety and driver training and licensing, all of which poses a threat to the traveling American public. Congress repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected the cross-border program because it failed to adequately protect Americans from unsafe Mexican trucking standards, DeFazio says.

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