FMCSA interprets sod grass as ‘agricultural commodity’

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020:

FMCSA codifies sod turfgrass as ag commodity, for now
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said in a Federal Register notice to be published Aug. 5 that it interprets sod turfgrass as an agricultural commodity, thus allowing sod haulers to operate under the same hours of service waivers as other ag haulers.

The agency, in response to an hours waiver request from Turfgrass Producers International in June 2019, said based on definitions from Congress and other government agencies, sod turfgrass is already considered an agricultural commodity.

FMCSA acknowledged its July 2019 advance notice of proposed rulemaking that seeks to further clarify what freight is considered agricultural commodities and to what extent haulers of those commodities should receive exemptions from federal hours of service regulations.

“The agency’s decision today to interpret agricultural commodity as already including sod grass for purposes of resolving TPI’s exemption request is thus interim in nature and does not foreclose a revised or even contrary conclusion as a result of the related rulemaking,” FMCSA said in the notice regarding sod.

Thermo King’s new service delivery program
After piloting a new service model at both dealerships in North America and Europe, Thermo King officially launched what it calls an “elite and standardized service excellence model.” It’s branded as Blue Track by Thermo King, and is a customer-centric service delivery model soon to be integrated into participating dealer locations. By the end of 2020, nearly all regions within North America will have Thermo King Blue Track dealer representation.

Blue Trackblue Black 2020 08 04 14 56Karin De Bondt, president of Thermo King Americas, noted that the program “underscores our dedication to delivering extraordinary service.” Blue Track dealers will implement standardized and enhanced service offerings that include proactive and transparent customer communications, triage and express services, dwell time monitoring, parts inventory management and extended dealership hours.

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Several dealers have adopted such elements through a pilot program over some time, said Mark Nyman, channel excellence leader in the Americas for the company. “We wanted to be sure that the solutions we were offering truly addressed our customers’ needs – their demands have changed and it’s important that we continue to adapt to meet their needs.”

The program was developed with a look into future transformation of transportation – including continued technological innovation, stringent regulations, and real-time visibility of equipment, loads and asset location throughout the refrigerated supply chain, the company said.

Drivewyze adds 12 new bypass locations in Montana, Illinois
Drivewyze has added 12 new locations in Montana and Illinois to its PreClear weigh station bypass service, the company announced Tuesday.

The new locations in Montana are:

  • Lima, I-15, north and southbound
  • Cameron, U.S. 287, north and southbound
  • Clearwater Junction, State Highway 200/83, eastbound and southbound
  • Clearwater Junction, State Highway 200, westbound

The new Illinois bypass locations are:

  • Brownstown, I-70, eastbound
  • Carlock, I-74, east and westbound
  • Peotone, I-57, north and southbound

Drivewyze says Carlock is a busy weigh station on the main route between Peoria and Bloomington, while Brownstown is the main thoroughfare between St. Louis and Indianapolis. Peotone, just south of Chicago, takes drivers right into Chicago.

Kenworth offering extended diagnostics subscription on new medium-duty trucks
Kenworth TruckTech+ Remote Diagnostics is now offering an extended subscription coverage option for new Kenworth medium-duty conventional models equipped with Paccar PX-7 and PX-9 engines.

Truck buyers will receive the free two-year bas subscription upon purchase of new Kenworth medium-duty conventional trucks. They can then also order an extended subscription from their dealer to cover from six months up to 36 months after the initial two years ends.

The extended subscriptions can also be purchased later by contacting a Kenworth dealer.

Next10 acquires two Idaho-based carriers
Two Idaho-based trucking companies, Ultimate Logistics and Ultimate Innovations, have been acquired by Next10, doing business as Ultimate Holdings Corporation, a lease-to-own trucking company. Both companies will be wholly owned subsidiaries of UHC.

As part of the purchase, UHC acquired approximately 80 newer model tractors and approximately 85 newer model 53-foot reefer trailers. The two companies had a combined gross revenue of more than $17.5 million for 2019. The management teams of the two acquired companies will remain in place, UHC says.

By acquiring the two companies, UHC now has “The Ultimate Program,” which has more than 75 drivers working to become owner-operators. In the program, individuals lease with UHC to be able to purchase a newer model truck with no money down.

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