CLASS 8 TRUCK ORDERS for December were 46 percent higher than in November and 11 percent greater than a year earlier, says FTR Associates. Modest growth is expected in 2012.
DAIMLER TRUCKS North America will add a second shift and nearly double production at its Freightliner Truck Manufacturing Plant in Cleveland, N.C., this year. The company plans to hire about 1,100 workers to increase production. The increase in production capacity is designed to reduce a six-month order backlog for Cascadias.
Cross-border program lawsuits advance
A court has consolidated lawsuits opposing the U.S. cross-border program with Mexico. Meanwhile, a second Mexican carrier has gained operating authority under the program.
The Teamsters union, Public Citizen and Sierra Club petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit Nov. 15. The court granted the Department of Justice’s request to transfer that case to the District of Columbia’s appellate court, where the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association had filed suit July 6, also seeking to block the program from proceeding.
On Jan. 6, the court ordered oral arguments in both cases are to be on the same day before the same panel of judges, but no date had been set. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s brief was due Feb. 1 and the petitioners’ reply brief Feb. 22.
The agency had granted provisional operating authority to Moises Alvarez Perez of Tijuana, Baja California Dec. 28. The carrier, DBA Distribuidora Marina El Pescador, lists one truck and one driver, according to a Jan. 9 FMCSA report.
Transportes Olympic, which has one truck and two drivers, was the first program participant to deliver beyond the border zone Oct. 21. The carrier, based in Apodaca, Nuevo León, is the only applicant to receive permanent operating authority.
Distribuidora Marina, Transportes Olympic and Grupo Behr of Apodaca, Nuevo León, have cleared Pre-Authority Screening Audits, which the agency conducts on applicants to verify program compliance.
FMCSA had intended to grant Grupo Behr authority, but announced Oct. 14 it would extend review to investigate questions raised by groups on its PASA results.
The agency reported Jan. 9 it had conducted compliance reviews in Mexico on Distribuidora Marina and Transportes Olympic in February 2009 under the previous cross-border program.
PASA results are pending for three additional program applicants.
On Oct. 20, the agency’s Office of Inspector General began its program audit for Congress, in accordance with 2007 law. It will decide if sufficient data exists to determine if the program reduces trucking safety and whether compliance can be assured.
Turnpike rates rise
Turnpike toll rates in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey increased Jan. 1.
Under the new rates, the cost to travel the entire 241-mile Ohio Turnpike from Indiana to Pennsylvania for five-axle vehicles increases to $44 from $40 for cash customers. The E-ZPass rate for the end-to-end turnpike rises to $35 from $32.