— Staff reports
Obama announces alt-energy plan at Daimler plant
During a March 7 visit to the Daimler Trucks North America manufacturing facility in Mount Holly, N.C., President Obama announced a $1 billion National Community Deployment Challenge designed to spur use of clean, advanced-technology vehicles around the country.
He also congratulated Daimler on the production of its 1,000th Freightliner natural gas truck and for adding 1,000 workers to the plant last year, many of whom had been laid off during the recession.
The president says under his program, the federal government will help communities that buy vehicles powered by alternative energy to “cut through the red tape and build fueling stations nearby.”
The president chose to visit the Mount Holly plant in part because of DTNA’s commitment to green technologies. DTNA is the only commercial vehicle manufacturer to be certified as GHG14 compliant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The company’s complete portfolio of 2013 on-highway, vocational, and medium-duty vehicles received certification one year ahead of the mandate.
The president also announced incentives to encourage the purchase of new, advanced-technology cars and trucks, including expanding the tax credit for such vehicles from $7,500 to $10,000, while allowing the credit to be applied to types of technologies not currently covered. In addition, the president announced a new research challenge that invests in technologies to make electric vehicles as affordable and convenient as gasoline-powered vehicles by the end of the decade.
The North Carolina plant produces the truck maker’s Freightliner Business Class M2 and severe duty product lines, including the M2 112 and 114SD natural gas vehicles, and the M2 106 hybrid vehicle. In 2011, the company hired more than 1,000 workers and added a second shift. Currently, the facility employs 1,450 and produces 25,000 trucks annually.
— Linda Longton
TRANSCORE’S North American Freight index rose 5 percent in January compared with January 2011. January’s spot market freight volume slipped 8 percent from December, reflecting seasonal demand.
Rocha, Bison win safety awards
Receiving Truckload Carriers Association’s National Fleet Safety Award were Rocha Transportation of Ceres, Calif., for truckload companies in the small carrier division, and Bison Transport of Winnipeg, Manitoba, for the large carrier division.
The 36th annual awards, sponsored by Great West Casualty Co., include the two grand prize winners selected from among 18 division winners in the National Fleet Safety Division Awards.
The 2011 top divisional winners, based on low accident frequency, are:
(less than 5 million miles)
• Rocha Transportation,
• Art Pape Transfer Inc.,
• Specialty Transport Inc.,
(5 million-14.99 million miles)
• Southland Transportation Co.,
• Houff Transfer Inc.,
Weyers Cave, Va.
• Skyline Transportation Inc.,
(15 million-24.99 million miles)
• Stagecoach Cartage & Dist. LP,
El Paso, Texas
• Grand Island Express,
Grand Island, Neb.
• Ace Doran Hauling & Rigging,
(25 million-49.99 million miles)
• Titan Transfer Inc.,
• Erb International, Inc.,
New Hamburg, Ont.
• N. Yanke Transfer,
(50 million-99.99 million miles)
• Groupe Robert Inc.,
• Navajo Express Inc., Denver
• May Trucking Co., Salem, Ore.
(100 million or more miles)
• Bison Transport Inc.,
• Gordon Trucking Inc.,
• Roehl Transport Inc.,
— Staff reports
EEOC charges Celadon violated disability act
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed charges against Celadon Inc., alleging it unlawfully subjected driver applicants to medical screenings and rejected them because of disabilities or perceived disabilities.
On Feb. 29, the commission filed a complaint in Indianapolis’ federal district court stating the truckload carrier performed medical examinations on applicants before making conditional employment offers. The company’s exams were inconsistent with U.S. Department of Transportation standards, but still used to disqualify applicants Celadon considered disabled, EEOC says.