Cat to exit highway engines, build truck with Navistar

Caterpillar will not produce an engine for North American on-highway truck makers that will meet stricter 2010 emissions standards, said George Taylor, company director for global on-highway products.

Caterpillar also announced June 12, with Navistar, that the companies will produce a Caterpillar-branded severe-service vocational truck.

Those moves are the leading edge of a strategic partnership between the companies on global initiatives in diesel engine technology, Taylor and others said in a media conference call.

“The writing’s on the wall for independent engine suppliers,” Taylor said, citing current on-highway engine market over-saturation amid tightening demand. “It will be increasingly difficult to participate in the North American market as an independent engine supplier.” Cat will continue to supply ’07 compliant engines through 2009.

The new Cat-branded truck will be designed for construction, logging and other applications, Taylor said. It will be introduced in the “2010 timeframe” and feature “a Caterpillar-branded engine produced by Navistar.”

The partnership, established through a non-binding “memorandum of understanding,” represents a “cooperation on developing technology,” said Mark Stasell, Navistar vice president and general manager for diversified operations.

Caterpillar will move forward with Navistar to capitalize on the global market in medium- and heavy-duty trucks, leveraging its global distribution network for construction vehicles and Navistar’s truck manufacturing capabilities, Taylor said.

Lack of a Cat-branded on-highway engine compliant with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 emissions standards would be no hindrance to this strategy, said Greg Gauger, Caterpillar’s global on-highway product manager. “The ability to build and distribute trucks globally with EPA ’07 and earlier engines … can go on for quite some time” in countries not subject to U.S. and European emissions standards, he said.

Navistar plans to meet the 2010 standards with its new MaxxForce engine line. A new plant in Huntsville, Ala., will produce the on-highway big-bore variants of the MaxxForce line of heavy- and medium-duty engines. Further expansion of capabilities elsewhere could be expected for both companies, representatives said.

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In the long term, Caterpillar and Navistar say they are committed to meeting emissions regulations by utilizing technologies other than selective catalytic reduction, which involves the introduction of urea.

Caterpillar officials said dealerships will provide service for the life of the equipment on Cat on-highway engines, which in recent years have incorporated proprietary ACERT emissions control technology.

Caterpillar’s on-highway business has not kept up with its expanding overall engine market.

“In the past 15 years, Cat has become significantly less dependent on the sale of on-highway truck engines in the total contribution of our global engine profitability,” said Douglas Oberhelman, Caterpillar group president. “Our global power systems business has grown significantly. In fact, we supply approximately 400,000 diesel engines annually outside of the on-highway truck market. We intend to remain the world leader in clean diesel engines, and this collaboration is a key enabler.”
– Todd Dills

Andra Williams of the Alabama Highway Patrol measures a Freightliner’s push rods at the Heflin weigh station on I-20 as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Roadcheck 2008. Random inspections were done for 72 continuous hours June 3-5 at more than 1,000 locations across North America. The truck Williams was inspecting came out A-OK.

Daimler to offer Cummins ISX
Daimler Trucks North America will offer the 14.8-liter Cummins ISX diesel engine throughout its Freightliner, Sterling and Western Star product lines beginning with the 2010 emissions regulations, the company says. Freightliner also will begin offering a 2007-compliant ISX in the Cascadia, beginning in January 2009.

DTNA now offers the Caterpillar C15 and C13 in addition to Daimler’s own Detroit Diesel DD15 and Series 60 and Mercedes-Benz MBE4000 engines. Caterpillar will continue to build current-technology engines for the North American market, and DTNA says it will continue to offer those engines. DTNA will expand its C15 offerings in more product niches over the next several months, says spokeswoman Maria McCullough.

Although DTNA doesn’t currently offer the Cummins ISX in its commercial truck offerings except in the export market, Cummins is DTNA’s exclusive external supplier of medium-duty engines. The Cummins ISM, ISC and ISL engines are available in Freightliner and Sterling medium-duty products. For Class 8 commercial vehicles, the only Cummins engine available is the ISL for Sterling.

The Cummins ISX will be an alternative to the 14.8-liter Detroit Diesel DD15, which was launched in fall 2007.
– Avery Vise

Highway hits
Aaron Tippin will release on Oct. 7 an album of classic trucking songs, including “East Bound and Down,” “Six Days On The Road” and “Roll On.” Tippin, who has performed the last two years at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, started trucking at age 23 “and loved every minute of it,” he recalls. Tipppin has selected Overdrive to be his partner in promoting the album and other trucking-related projects. Further information on the album will be available at

California seeks trucker feedback
The California Air Resources Board is holding workshops and surveying truckers on a proposal that would apply to all pre-2007 trucks operating in the state, regardless of registration.

The board is expected to vote Oct. 23 on whether to require retrofits and engine replacements for 300,000 privately owned diesel vehicles starting in 2012. The proposal calls for pre-2007 trucks to be retrofitted with soot filters and then requires a gradual modernization of trucks.

Log on to or call 1-866-6DIESEL for more information.
– Jill Dunn

CARB considers SmartWay specs
As part of its response to a 2006 state law mandating that greenhouse gas emissions be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020, the California Air Resources Board has drafted regulations that would require tractors and trailers to be spec’d or retrofitted to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay certification for aerodynamics and the rolling resistance of tires.

The proposed regulation would apply to long-haul heavy-duty tractors and 53-foot vans operating in California, regardless of the state of registration. New tractors and trailers would have to meet the standards beginning with model year 2011. Older tractors and trailers would have to be retrofitted by 2014 under a phase-in schedule.

CARB’s board will consider the regulation in October.
– Jill Dunn

SuperRigs winner
Ryan Danylchurch of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and his 2001 Peterbilt 379 won Best of Show June 7 at the 26th annual Shell Rotella SuperRigs competition at the Iowa 80 in Walcott, Iowa. Danylchurch won $10,000, a case of Shell Rotella T with Triple Protection motor oil, an Iowa 80 prize package and the honor of appearing in the 2009 Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar.

Bills address fuel surcharges
Four bills introduced on Capitol Hill within days of one another address passing fuel surcharges onto the buyer, while a defense spending bill stipulates that Pentagon truck contracts require that as well.

The Trust in Reliable Under-standing of Consumer Costs (TRUCC) Act, or S 2910, requires the arranger of truckload transportation, such as a carrier, to pass the full fuel surcharge and accurate information relating to that surcharge to the fuel buyer. The bill, introduced by U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, has four co-sponsors.

U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., introduced the Fairness in Trucking Transactions Act, H.R. 5997, on May 8. It also would require the total surcharge to be passed to the fuel buyer. While it does not address transparency, it would add a civil penalty for not passing the surcharge to the fuel buyer and allow for civil action. The bill, which has no co-sponsors, was referred to the Highways and Transit subcommittee.

On May 6, U.S. Rep. Pete DeFazio, D-Ore., introduced a bill similar to Snowe’s. That bill, H.R. 5977, has nine co-sponsors and was referred to the Highways and Transit subcommittee.

U.S. Rep. Thomas Petri, R-Wis., introduced the House duplicate of Snowe’s bill, H.R. 5934, on May 1. H.R. 5934 has one co-sponsor and was referred to the Highways and Transit subcommittee. DeFazio’s and Petri’s bills both have the same name as Snowe’s, TRUCC.

DeFazio also introduced an amendment to the 2009 defense authorization bill that stipulates that for any U.S. Department of Defense truck contract, the carrier or broker must pass any fuel surcharge on to the person buying the fuel and must disclose that surcharge.

A majority of House members passed that bill, the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009, or H.R. 5658, on a voice vote without objection. It was placed on the Senate calendar June 3.
– Jill Dunn and Steven Mackay

FMCSA issues drug alert
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has advised medical examiners not to certify drivers taking Chantix, a popular smoking-cessation drug, because it may adversely affect driving.

FMCSA Administrator John Hill issued an advisory on Chantix, also known by the generic name varenicline, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released its own advisory on the drug. The FDA had cautioned against driving or operating machinery until the patient knows how Chantix affects him.

FMCSA medical regulations for interstate truck and bus drivers prohibit the use of prescribed drugs that adversely affect operating a commercial motor vehicle.

The Federal Aviation Administration ordered pilots and air traffic controllers to stop taking it immediately after a medical safety group, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, released the results of a study in late May that found evidence of seizures, unconsciousness, heart attacks, vision problems and psychiatric instabilities in individuals who use Chantix.
– Jill Dunn

L.A. port to bar owner-operators, with exceptions
The Port of Los Angeles will begin Oct. 1 a program to gradually convert owner-operators to employees, but out-of-state owner-operators will be able to purchase day passes to serve the port.

On May 15, the port approved its Clean Truck Program Drayage Services Concession Agreement, under which an increasing percentage of drivers will be employees by Dec. 31 of each year, starting with 20 percent by 2009 and reaching 100 percent by 2013.

However, port officials are working on day passes for out-of-state owner-operators, said port representative Chris Cannon. These will be available starting Oct. 1 to out-of-state “infrequent visitors” for a fee that has not been determined, Cannon said.

The transition period coincides with the progressive ban on older, dirtier trucks that was approved by both the Los Angeles port and the Port of Long Beach in October. The two ports are starting a multibillion-dollar initiative to underwrite the cost of a new drayage fleet of “clean” trucks that meet 2007 federal emissions standards by 2012.

The Los Angeles concessionaire agreements are five-year renewable pacts that require:

  • A one-time application fee of $2,500 and an annual fee of $100 per truck.
  • Outfitting each truck with a radio frequency identification device for monitoring by the port and a placard advertising a toll-free phone number to help the public lodge complaints.
  • Proof of applicable insurance.
  • A pledge to incorporate future efficiency and technology advances as they become available.

The Teamsters back the employee-only plan, which is opposed by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

The American Trucking Associations filed comments March 3 with the Federal Maritime Commission, arguing that the port’s plan is pre-empted by federal law. In fall 2007, Sean Connaughton, maritime administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation, told both ports that the employee provision may be beyond the scope of their local authority.
– Jill Dunn

Calling all calendar beauties
Drennon Durham’s 2007 Peterbilt 379 made a colorful cover for the 2008 Overdrive’s Pride & Polish calendar. Entrants in the Pride & Polish show at the Great American Trucking Show, Aug. 21-23, can submit their truck to be considered for the 2009 calendar. For more information, visit www.pride and click on “Calendar nomination.”

Classy comfort
On a recent visit to Peterbilt’s headquarters in Denton, Texas, Overdrive editors got a firsthand look at the company’s ComfortClass system, which offers climate control and 110-volt electrical power. While the truck is operating, a 185-amp alternator charges the power pack and starting batteries while a compressor charges the thermal storage unit (gray container behind cab). When the system is activated, the power pack runs a pump that circulates chilled fluid through the storage unit. The power pack also runs a fan, underneath the bunk, that blows fluid-chilled air into the sleeper. A small diesel-fired heater mounted under the bunk keeps the sleeper and cab warm in freezing temperatures. Peterbilt says ComfortClass can reduce annual fuel consumption by approximately 8 percent. It is available on Peterbilt models with 63- and 70-in. sleepers.

$1.28B bid wins lease for Pa. Turnpike
A $12.8 billion binding bid for a 75-year lease of the Pennsylvania Turnpike could produce more funding for roads and public transit systems, according to the state. The concessionaire also will invest more than $5.5 billion to improve the turnpike.

The winning bid was made in May by a team led by Citi Infrastructure Investors and Abertis Infraestructuras, with Criteria CaixaCorp investing alongside this team as a major shareholder of Abertis. The measure requires state Legislature approval.

“We urgently need new funding for road and bridge repair, and a turnpike lease will help us meet that need,” Gov. Edward Rendell said. “Under the terms and conditions we set, the turnpike will be upgraded, and tolls will be no higher than the Turnpike Commission will charge.”

Road repair all over the state will accelerate, and plans to impose tolls on I-80 will be canceled, Rendell said. “Leasing the turnpike will deliver more per year than the I-80 tolling plan,” he said.

Rendell said the $12.8 billion lease payment would be dedicated to road and bridge repair and support 73 public transit agencies. By investing the money for the long term, the lease plan would generate annual payouts for transportation over the 75-year life of the lease.

These payments would average 13 percent higher than the maximum available under the I-80 tolling plan, assuming investment returns equal the average earnings of the Pennsylvania State Employee Retirement System over the past 20 years, Rendell said.

“The concessionaire will be held to the highest operating standards,” Rendell said. “They also plan to put more than $5.5 billion of their own money into repairing and upgrading the road.”

If approval is granted, the Turnpike Commission would make annual payments to PennDOT averaging $944 million per year for the first 10 years, and larger amounts thereafter. If permission to toll I-80 is not granted, payments to PennDOT would fall to $450 million per year with no escalation.
– Staff reports

Bill seeks trucker I.D. card for hauling security-sensitive loads
For the second time in as many years, U.S. Rep. Dan Lungren has introduced a bill that would require truckers transporting security-sensitive loads to obtain a transportation security card.

The California Republican introduced in April the Screening Applied Fairly and Equitably to Truckers Act of 2008, or HR 5915, which then was referred to the Homeland Security committee.

The bill would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to require affected truckers to obtain a transportation security card from the Homeland Security secretary. It would implement civil and criminal penalties for violators.

It requires a fingerprint-based background records check before issuing a security-sensitive material permit to an individual and allows issuance of a security-sensitive material permit to an individual as an integrated component of a transportation security card.

Mexican and Canadian truckers would not be able to transport sensitive material until they received a background check similar to ones required for U.S. operators.

It was not readily clear if truckers would be able to use the Transportation Worker Identification Credentials, the biometric identification credential that will be required for unescorted access to secure areas in all U.S. ports.
– Jill Dunn

ATA loses federal Highway Watch grant
The American Trucking Associations’ Highway Watch program did not receive a Department of Homeland Security grant for the first time since the department began funding the program in 2004.

As a result of Congressional direction in the 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act, the DHS trucking security $15.5 million grant was awarded as a competitive grant for the first time this year.

The contract went to HMS Co., headquartered in Washington, D.C. It provides technical, security, training and administrative services to clients.
– Jill Dunn

Lobbyists debate truck size
A coalition of carriers and shippers wants a demonstration project in the next federal highway bill allowing larger truck combinations in five border or port states: Georgia, Maine, Minnesota, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

Americans for Safe and Efficient Transportation advocates an increase in the federal maximum weight to 97,000 pounds on a three-axle trailer. Because Canada, Mexico and most of Europe operate heavier trucks, freight arriving in the United States often must be permitted or broken up – a slow, costly process, ASET says.

A bill introduced by U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, would increase weight limits on federal highways from 80,000 pounds to 100,000 pounds for a trial period of two years.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. – who wrote the law limiting triple trailers to a few states – introduced a bill to limit tractor-trailers to 80,000 pounds and trailers to 53 feet.

Other vocal opponents of the pilot study include the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the Teamsters union, Public Citizen and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.
– Jill Dunn and Avery Vise

WASTEWISE is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program through which companies pledge to reduce or eliminate their solid and industrial wastes. Partners in the trucking industry include AN Deringer, ArvinMeritor, Carter Logistics, Daimler Chrysler, Dana, Dealer Tire, Dynasty Freight Forwarding, Eaton, Federal Express, Navistar, JK Moving and Storage, Oil Purification Systems, Roadway Express, Shell Lubricants and UPS. Visit

JEVIC TRANSPORTATION discontinued operations in May, citing high fuel costs, economic downturn, increasing insurance costs and tightening credit markets. Based in Delanco, N.J., the company owned 1,185 power units and employed 1,230 drivers.

CUTTING TOP SPEED to 62 mph on all company trucks are Bison Transport and Frozen Food Express, including FFE subsidiaries American Eagle Lines and Lisa Motor Lines.

$1 MILLION total in Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration grants has been awarded to nine technical and community colleges for commercial driver’s license training programs: Maricopa Community College, Glendale, Ariz.; Arkansas State University, Newport, Ark.; West Hills Community College, Coalinga, Calif.; Waubonsee Community College, Sugar Grove, Ill.; Ozarks Technical Community College, Springfield, Mo.; National Tractor Trailer School, Liverpool, N.Y.; Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland; Lehigh Carbon Community College, Schnecksville, Pa.; Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, Orangeburg, S.C.

driving while using a handheld cell phone now is illegal in Nova Scotia, as is text messaging while driving and smoking in a vehicle carrying anyone under the age of 19. Driving while using a handheld cell phone also is illegal in Quebec.

NINETY-FIVE PERCENT of the 473 truck drivers responding to a Washington DOT survey say there’s not enough truck parking along Washington interstates, but 69 percent say they don’t want new spaces enough to pay a fee. Complete results are at

RATHER THAN WAIT until license renewal to become an organ donor, those licensed in West Virginia now can register as donors anytime at

ILLINOIS. Chicago will receive a $153 million congestion-fighting grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation that will be used to create four routes of dedicated bus lanes and to increase rush-hour parking-meter fees. The grant is contingent on the city privatizing the parking meters by year’s end.

KANSAS. Highway Patrol troopers again are riding in cabs with truck drivers this summer to witness, document, record and report safety violations in surrounding traffic. The troopers are riding in a different region each week.

NORTH CAROLINA. Now open is the new U.S. 70 bypass around Clayton, southeast of Raleigh. With a speed limit of 70 mph, the bypass should enable trucks to avoid stop-and-go traffic on the old highway, which will be renamed U.S. 70 Business. The downside is that the bypass will dump traffic onto a stretch of I-40 that has only four lanes, as opposed to six at the I-40/U.S. 70 interchange.

OREGON. Police are cracking down on unsafe driving around large trucks on I-5 south of Portland, between I-205 and Woodburn. As part of the effort, police are riding in the cabs of big rigs in a project that may be expanded statewide.