News roundup, April 21: E-log provider seeking signatures on petition for more aid; SuperRigs going digital for 2020

Updated Jan 26, 2021

Trucking news & briefs for April 21, 2020:

Petition for targeted aid to truckers
Electronic logging device provider KeepTruckin, in just more than a week, has garnered more than 18,000 signatures on an online petition that makes a case for targeted aid to small-business truckers, in part with carrier activity data the company has access to in aggregated form through its network of ELDs. At the time of the petition’s release last week, working truck traffic in its network had fallen by 24% as coronavirus pandemic-related lockdowns drove freight volume and rates decline. The activity decline was as high as 38% in early-affected areas on the West and East Coasts.

KeepTruckin’s petition argues for consideration of the particular needs of small-business truckers for relief that not only funds payroll but accounts for high fixed costs like insurance and truck financing, both of which have proved negotiable for a potential pause with some lenders and insurers — though such options are hardly universal.

  1. The petition argues for a recalibration of the SBA-administered Paycheck Protection Program’s calculation of loan amounts to include the fixed-cost burdens of truck and trailer lease/load payments and insurance costs. 
  2. It also urges making use of PPP funds for truck and trailer lease/loan repayment or insurance costs obviously forgiveable under program terms in order that carriers are “saddled with debt they will not be able to repay.” 

KeepTruckin’s survey of carriers bolstered the notion of trucking-company concern over lease/loan payments and insurance costs, with “37% of trucking company leaders,” according to the company expressing “serious concerns about their ability to meet one or both of these obligations in the next three months.” Follow this link to view the petition.

Launch of the petition followed KeepTruckin’s decision to lay off of 18% of the company’s 1,900 global employees on March 31 and its prior-month closure of the One Point Logistics broker it had purchased in late 2018. The launch preceded by a few days the Paycheck Protection Program running out of money, furthermore, late last week, though Congressional and executive branch leaders continue to hammer out a package to appropriate more assistance money, available to smaller business of all kinds.

SuperRigs moving to virtual event for 2020
Shell Rotella SuperRigs will take on a new form in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, moving the 38th annual truck show to a digital event.

Details will be announced soon on how the show will go on, including Shell Rotella’s plans to produce the 2021 SuperRigs calendar.

“This was a difficult decision to make, but protecting the health and safety of truckers and our community is our highest priority,” the company said in a statement. “Shell Rotella always appreciates hard working truckers and the essential work they do every day, especially now during this critical time to transport essential goods across North America.”

Recalls hit more than 63,000 Freightliner, Western Star, Sterling trucks
An issue with rear reflective tape on a number of Freightliner, Western Star and Sterling trucks has prompted a recall from Daimler Trucks North America that includes more than 63,000 power units.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents say the rear reflective tape on the affected trucks may be covered by the mudflap hanger bracket, which could reduce the vehicle’s visibility to other drivers on the road.

The recall includes 63,175 of the following truck models:

  • 2006-2020 Freightliner Columbia
  • 2006-2021 Freightliner Business Class M2
  • 2007-2020 Freightliner Coronado
  • 2014-2021 Freightliner 122SD
  • 2007 Sterling A9500
  • 2006 Freightliner Argosy
  • 2006-2007 Sterling AT9500
  • 2007-2021 Freightliner Cascadia
  • 2006-2008 Freightliner Classic
  • 2006-2011 Freightliner Century Class
  • 2006-2010 Freightliner FLD
  • 2017 Western Star 5700

DTNA will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and reposition the reflective tape to make sure it’s completely visible. Owners can contact DTNA customer service at 1-800-547-0712 with recall number FL848. NHTSA’s recall number is 20V-214.

A separate recall from DTNA affects approximately 89  model year 2020 Freightliner 108SD and model year 2020-2021 Freightliner Coronado, 114SD and Western Star 4700 and 4900 trucks. In the affected trucks, the gross axle weight rating (GAWR) on the certification label may be incorrect, possibly resulting in the trucks being overloaded.

DTNA will notify owners, and dealers will update the GAWR labels for free. Owners can contact DTNA customer service at 1-800-547-0712 with recall number FL847. NHTSA’s recall number is 20V-211.

Fixed grille now optional on certain Kenworth T880S trucks
The Kenworth T880S with set-forward front axle is now available with a new fixed grille option.

The radiator-mounted grille is now available for the model equipped with the 114-inch BBC short hood and allows the hood to be opened in applications where equipment is mounted to the front of the truck.

“The fixed grille is an excellent option for truck operators who use the Kenworth T880S as snowplows, cranes, vacuum trucks or other applications that require equipment mounted in front of the hood,” said Laura Bloch, Kenworth assistant general manager for sales and marketing.

The T880S is offered with a set-forward front axle ranging from 14,600 pounds to 22,800 pounds, and is standard with the Paccar MX-13 engine with up to 510hp and 1,850 lb-ft of torque.

Goodyear service centers move to contact-free service
Goodyear Commercial Tire & Service Centers and Raben Tire locations are offering “zero contact” service to help limit contact between customers and Goodyear employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The service includes contact-free key exchange, protective gloves and handwashing procedures, cleaning for all contact points on the vehicle and payment by phone.

NYC opens two truck parking facilities
New York City has opened two temporary truck parking facilities in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak that has turned the metropolitan area into the epicenter of the pandemic.

One is located on Staten Island at the Global Container Terminal and the other in the Bronx at the Hunt’s Point Food Distribution Center. These are strategic freight hubs for the city.

Each area will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for rest periods during the day or overnight, with bathrooms, mobile lights, trash cans, and security patrol. Drivers should keep their vehicles secure, as the City is not responsible for any stolen items, according to a statement from the city government.

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