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Canadian freight volumes off to a good start: TransCore

TORONTO, Ont. – TransCore Link Logistics’ Canadian and cross-border loads showed another impressive month for load volumes.

According to the data, January’s load volumes marked the second highest recorded volumes compared to the same month in any year. The record for highest load volumes was set in January 2014, TransCore said.

Compared to last month, January’s volumes were up 10%. Year-over-year, load volumes jumped 43%.

Intra-Canada loads represented 24% of the total volumes and climbed 45% compared to the same period last year.

Cross-border loads averaged 72% of the total data (an increase of five percentage points from December 2016) submitted by Loadlink’s Canadian-based customers. As well, loads leaving Canada were up 35% and loads coming into Canada went up 46% year-over-year.

The narrowing gap in capacity continued in January, tightening even further to 2.10 trucks for every load available. In December 2016, this ratio was 2.26. Year-over-year, the truck-to-load ratio improved 34%, TransCore reported.

Source of article click here : Truck News

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North Vancouver drug smuggler gets 12 years in U.S.

A North Vancouver truck driver who worked for the Hell’s Angels, driving massive shipments of marijuana and cocaine over the Canada-U.S. border, has been sentenced to 12 years in a U.S. jail.

Judge John C. Coughenour of the U.S. District Court of Western Washington sentenced James Postlethwaite, 60, to 144 months in prison plus five years of supervised release for his role in what prosecutors described as a “sophisticated drug trafficking conspiracy.”

Postlethwaite was sentenced Tuesday after being found guilty by a jury in November of conspiracy to traffic marijuana.

He had been in custody since his arrest at the B.C.-Idaho border in March 2012.

In handing down the sentence, Coughenour said Postlethwaite had been involved in the drug smuggling ring for a “significant amount of time” and was responsible for smuggling “vast quantities of marijuana into the United States” as well as smuggling cocaine back to Canada.

Postlethwaite smuggled the drugs across the border in a tractor-trailer that contained a sophisticated hidden compartment that could hold more than 600 pounds of marijuana.

Postlethwaite, a truck driver for 30 years, would also carry a legitimate load like scrap paper or other recyclables placed on top of the hidden compartment, according to court documents.

He would drive through the border, drop off the recyclables, then continue to a warehouse in Kent, Washington, where the marijuana would be unloaded.

Money from the marijuana sales would be used by members of the drug trafficking ring to buy cocaine from a Mexican drug cartel. Postlethwaite would also smuggle cocaine back into Canada.

One person who testified at his trial in co-operation with authorities spoke about seeing workers loading about 60 kilograms of cocaine into the secret compartment of Postlethwaite’s trailer for the return trip to Canada.

“Once in Canada, this cocaine fuelled addiction, violence and death on the streets of Vancouver and other cities,” prosecutors said.

Another person who testified during the trial estimated that Postlethwaite had smuggled about 8,200 kilograms of marijuana into the U.S. in one year alone.

Postlethwaite is believed to have made the cross-border drug runs for at least seven years.

Several U.S. agencies including the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force and Department of Homeland Security had been working on the investigation since 2010. A series of wiretaps revealed the location of the Seattle-area warehouse where Postlethwaite would deliver the shipments of “B.C. bud.”

Postlethwaite, listed as the owner of Strive Trucking on Westover Road, has no criminal history.

Prosecutors in the case recommended the sentence of 144 months — the same sentence handed down to two others found guilty in the conspiracy case.

The judge recommended that Postlethwaite be jailed in a medium security prison in Victorville, Calif., at the request of his defence lawyer.

Source: north shore news

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Idle No More protesters make good on threats to shut down Canadian infrastructur

Making good on threats to shut down infrastructure across Canada, flag-waving, drum-beating protesters marched Wednesday under the banner of the Idle No More movement as they set up blockades snarling traffic and halting trains across the country.

In Windsor, Ont., about 600 marchers — one of the largest of the protests — took to one of the city’s links to Detroit, the Ambassador Bridge, backing up commercial traffic beyond city limits.

The so-called national day of action created tension outside Edmonton where protesters blocked the main artery between the Alberta capital and Calgary. One driver in a large blue pickup truck slowly edged their way through the blockade as protesters jumped on the truck’s hood before finally letting the driver pass. No one was injured during the confrontation.

With minor exceptions, the protests were peaceful and went off without incident.

More than one chief who spoke out in Windsor, however, put the federal government on notice that, should it not heed the call to meet and discuss treaty rights with Canada’s indigenous leaders, protesters would return with much larger numbers.

“Windsor has never seen a gathering of First Nations like this — we are here to send a strong message that we are united,” said Delaware First Nation Chief Greg Peters.

Amid pleas from aboriginal leaders for civility on both sides, peaceful protest appeared to be the order of the day, but motives varied. Some groups spoke of their own land claims, others decried the federal government’s changes to environmental oversight. Still others spoke of the need to honour all First Nations treaties.

In a message on their Facebook page, Idle No More organizers said their goal was to resist government policies in a peaceful and respectful way.

“It can be done,” the post said. “It can be done without aggression or violence. This is an energetic, exciting and transformative time.”


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Drivers of vehicles in crash charged

RCMP have laid charges against the drivers of both vehicles involved in a highway collision Friday night.

Early indications are that the driver of a Dodge Stealth failed to stop for a red light while travelling southbound on Highway 59 and collided with an eastbound semi-trailer truck on Highway 101 through the intersection. The truck driver, a 55-year-old man from Mississauga, Ont., stopped a short distance from the accident but left without providing particulars.

The three occupants of the Stealth received aid at the scene by an off-duty nurse and paramedic and were taken to hospital.

The 20-year-old driver of the Stealth suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was arrested for impaired driving. She will appear in court on April 9.

The truck driver was charged with leaving the scene of an accident. He was later located at Deacon’s Corner on the Trans-Canada Highway.

The front female passenger of the Dodge remains in hospital in critical condition while the backseat passenger was treated and released.

The investigation continues.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

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US: SPECIAL REPORT: No changes to HOS, 11th hour and 34-hour restart stay

Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008 – Truckers won’t be learning yet another set of hours-of-service regulations because there aren’t going to be any changes to the regs when the “new” final rule goes into effect in January 2009.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently submitted the latest in a long line of final rules outlining the hours-of-service regs governing the trucking industry.

The new final rule adopts the interim rule that the truckers are running under right now, according to a copy of the final rule obtained by Land Line Magazine. The final rule will go into effect on Jan. 19, 2009.

This marks yet another attempt by the agency to put the HOS debate to bed. The embattled regulation has been contested in court numerous times where it was tossed out entirely in 2004 and with two key provisions eliminated in 2007 because of procedural problems.

The final rule submitted to the Federal Register reflects FMCSA’s attempt to rectify the procedural issues it encountered when it added the 11th hour of driving and the optional 34-hour restart provision.

In July 2007, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit tossed the provision that increased driving time to 11 hours from 10 hours and the 34-hour restart provision.

The two provisions were tossed by the court based on procedural grounds – not on safety concerns.

The agency sought comments through the early part of 2008 on the interim rules truckers are currently working under. The interim final rule posted on the Federal Register Dec. 17, 2007. The agency left the current hours-of-service regulations as is, including the 11th hour of driving and the optional 34-hour restart provision.

Agency officials decided to propose keeping the current rules rather than create confusion within the trucking industry and the enforcement community by issuing revisions to the rule.

“This proposal keeps in place hours-of-service limits that improve highway safety by ensuring that drivers are rested and ready to work,” FMCSA Administrator John H. Hill said in a press release.

Those sentiments were echoed strongly in the interim final rule.

“Uncertainty is the enemy of enforcement and compliance; it can only impair highway safety,” FMCSA officials wrote in the interim final rule. “This (interim final rule) will ensure that a familiar, uniform set of national rules govern motor carrier transportation, while FMCSA gathers additional public comments on all aspects of this interim final rule.

“By re-adopting the 11-hour limit and the 34-hour restart, the agency’s intent is to allow motor carriers and drivers to combine work-rest schedules that follow the optimal 24-hour circadian cycle (10 hours off duty and 14 hours on duty) while maintaining highway safety with operational flexibility.”

– By Jami Jones, senior editor
Courtesy of LandLine Magazine
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Behind the Wheel - Speed from Skidmarks
Tire marks left on the pavement at a collision scene tell the investigator many things about the events involved in a motor vehicle collision. One of the more interesting involves the calculation of pre-collision speed. Even more interesting was the opportunity to teach it to a class of physics students at a Qualicum Beach high school.

My supervisor and I started the class by deriving the slide to stop formula from the basic equations the students were learning. Simply put, the speed of the vehicle is equal to 15.9 times the square root of the skid distance multiplied by the coefficient of friction for the road surface. This applies to a level surface and will work for both ABS and non-ABS braking systems.

Next we went to the parking lot where I readied the shot marker on my police vehicle and had one student sit in the passenger seat to verify the speed by watching the radar display. After reaching 50 km/h I braked to create the skid and the shot marker fired a piece of blackboard chalk onto the ground when the brakes were applied. By measuring the distance from the chalk mark to the shot marker at the other end, the exact skid distance was known.

My supervisor led the others through the use of a drag sled, which is essentially a section of tire weighted with lead or concrete inside. Weighing it and then measuring the force required to slide it over the pavement allowed the students to calculate the co-efficient of friction for the road surface.

Back in the classroom we used the formula, the skid distance and the co-efficient of friction to calculate the police vehicle's initial speed when the brakes were applied. The answer was exactly the speed shown on the radar! While real world collisions are often much more complicated, this was a great opportunity to show the students an application of what they were studying in a manner that they had not considered.

Reference Links
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US : CVSA schedules nationwide safety blitz for Oct. 19-25

Truckers who drive unsafely and four-wheelers who drive unsafely around trucks will be the targets of an enforcement blitz beginning this weekend.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and law enforcement are teaming up Oct. 19-25 for what they’re calling “Operation Safe Driver.”

“Inattention, insufficient awareness of traffic conditions, and unsafe maneuvers by drivers are far and away the leading causes of fatal crashes between passenger cars and commercial vehicles,” said John H. Hill, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, according to the CVSA Web site.

Click here for more information on “Operation Safe Driver.”

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Truckers, business owners, consumers gather to protest high fuel prices

A wide spectrum of people – from truckers to business owners to soccer moms – turned out to protest record-high fuel price at a day-long rally on Friday, April 11, in Chehalis, WA.

OOIDA members Sherrie and Bob Bond of Chehalis, WA, own five log trucks. Sherrie Bond said they organized the event in an attempt to garner mainstream attention to the fact that high diesel prices are not only hurting truckers and small businesses, but are also affecting consumers’ ability to afford the goods they take to stores.

“I am hopeful about this today – everyone has been very positive with their support,” she told Land Line on Friday, April 11. “We are right here next to the freeway so we have a lot of support from people that are going back and forth giving us the thumbs up. You can hear the horns honking in support of what we are doing here.”

Around 10 a.m., Bond said, there was a convoy of about 20 trucks on their way from Olympia, WA, to join the rally. At that point in the morning, she had already been interviewed by local media and was preparing for radio interviews planned later Friday.

She said many log truckers showed up in their pickup trucks instead of their rigs today because they “just couldn’t afford the diesel to get their trucks over here.”

The chatter on the CB was positive from truckers who passed by their rally, which could be seen from Interstate 5. Many said they are headed back to join the protest after they delivered their loads.

“We have everyone, I’m telling you, from a septic tank pumper to some in motor homes to some here today in minivans, even some soccer moms here supporting us today, which is great,” she said.

Attendees at the rally were asked to sign a letter to President Bush in the hopes of making him aware of the “cross-section of people who are being impacted by these high prices.” The letter also asks President Bush to cease the diversion of oil supplies to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and allow that product to directly enter the marketplace.

OOIDA members Diana and Richard Parker of Moxee, WA, which is about 150 miles away from Chehalis, put signs up in their yard Friday to show their support for the fuel protest.

“We are about four miles from Yakima and I’ve been involved in things like this before,” Diana Parker told Land Line on Friday, April 11. “If anyone asks, I am going to tell them I am doing this to protest high diesel prices and I also have trucks.”

OOIDA member Felix Ford of Houston, TX, told Land Line on Thursday, April 10, he fully supports what truckers in the state of Washington are doing to shine the media spotlight on the problems truckers are facing right now.

“Granted, it’s a weak economy right now, but I am seeing extremely high fuel prices and freight rates that are just too low for me to haul for,” Ford said. “I am an independent trucker and I am feeling the crunch like most truckers. I may not make it much longer if this continues.”

Right now, Ford said he mainly hauling oil field equipment, but has been sitting when he can’t get a load that pays him what he needs to run.

“It’s almost a no-win situation for me,” he said. “Because if you don’t move the truck you have no money coming in, but if you move it for the cost they are offering you are almost working for free.”

Courtesy of LandLine Magazine

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USA: Record high diesel fuel prices top $4 a gallon; national average $3.81

Rumors have been floating around for weeks that the cost for a gallon of diesel was getting ready to hit the $4 a gallon mark.

It became a reality in California on Sunday, March 9, when fuel stations in the Silicon Valley raised the cost for diesel to $4.01, a jump of nearly 28.3 cents from two weeks ago. Four other states, according to ProMiles, saw diesel hit $4 per gallon. They were Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

All-time records for diesel prices are being broken daily across the country, as the weekly average price has jumped 27.7 cents nationally in the past two weeks – stunning truck drivers.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported the national average price for diesel fuel as being $3.819 on Monday, March 10, up more than $1.134 from a year ago.

The average price for ultra-low sulfur diesel increased 15.9 cents to $3.825, while the average price for low-sulfur diesel jumped 17.7 cents to $3.774 from last week.

While the EIA reports the areas farthest from the Gulf Coast “tend to have higher prices,” the agency is reporting that the Gulf Coast region has the most noticeable increase of 18.9 cents from a week ago. The Gulf Coast region is the source of nearly half of the diesel produced in the U.S., according to EIA statistics.

While the Gulf Coast region reported the biggest weekly increase, the California region still beat the national average, reporting an average of $3.955

The Lower Atlantic region reported the second highest weekly increase of 18.1 cents to $3.822, while the East Coast region has the third highest increase of 17.1 cents to $3.886.

The Central Atlantic jumped 16.4 cents to $3.993, while the Rocky Mountain region increased 15.9 cents to $3.734. Cost for diesel fuel in the West Coast region also topped the national average price at $3.891 this week.

In the Midwest region, the cost increased 13.7 cents to $3.789 per gallon. While the New England region reported the lowest increase of 12.5 cents, the average price for a gallon of diesel fuel still topped the national average at $3.938.

Light, sweet crude oil for April delivery set a record of $107.90 on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Monday at the close of business after setting a new trading record of $108.21 earlier in the day.

Courtesy of LandLine Magazine
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US : Hours of Service Court Fight Resumes
PHP-Nuke December 23, 2007

Seeking a legal trifecta, the group Public Citizen has gone back to federal court to prevent the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from implementing an hours of service interim rule that will allow truckers to drive for 11 hours a day. The rule imperils both truckers and the driving public, Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook told a U.S. Senate subcommittee last week before her group asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to enforce its earlier decision striking down the rule.

"FMCSA is asleep at the wheel when it comes to truck safety, particularly in how it ignores tired truckers," Claybrook said. Public Citizen and some allied organizations have twice sued successfully to overturn the rule, most recently in July when the court ordered FMCSA to come up with a new rule. Instead, the federal agency reissued the rule Dec. 11, with its administrator saying a record-low fatality rate for large trucks in 2006 proves its safety value. The rule allows commercial truck drivers to spend seven consecutive days on the road with a 34-hour break; they can drive 88 hours in an eight-day period. Joining Public Citizen in the latest court filing were Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, Parents Against Tired Truckers, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

"Drivers must have a 'weekend' like most other American workers to recover from the exhaustion of driving long hours, to spend time with family, and to enjoy some life outside of the truck cab," Claybrook said. "This proposal keeps in place hours-of-service limits that improve highway safety by ensuring that drivers are rested and ready to work," FMCSA Administrator John H. Hill stated when the rule was issued Dec. 11. "The data makes clear that these rules continue to protect drivers, make our roads safer, and keep our economy moving."

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Canadian Driver Takes Top Spot in Photo Contest

Susan De Ridder won the “People’s Choice” award for her photograph entitled “Susie tearing up the blacktop from coast to coast.”

PLOVER, WI – A truck driver for New Brunswick's Armour Transportation took home one of the top honors in the Women in Trucking association’s “I Heart Trucking” photo contest. 

Susan De Ridder won the “People’s Choice” award for her photograph entitled “Susie tearing up the blacktop from coast to coast” in this effort to promote a positive view of the trucking industry.

De Redder first became a truck driver in 1984 when she arrived in Ontario and has been with Armour since 2013.

The contest, which ran from June 23 to July 24, received three-dozen entries from industry professionals in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Professional drivers and other trucking industry contestants, using their own cameras or phones submitted the photos. Judging was based on originality, composition, quality, and the “I Heart Trucking” theme.

Below is a complete list of winners. A link to each photo is on each title.

People’s Choice

Winner – “Susie tearing up the blacktop from coast to coast” by Susan De Ridder

1st runner-up – “Trucking Alaska” by Peggy Biro

2nd runner-up – “Living the truck experience” by Shantell Zuzueta

Judges’ Choice

Winner - “Rise and Shine” by Kim Grimm

1st runner-up – “The Beauty of Trucking” by Andrea Noto

2nd runner-up – “Car Hauler” by Martha Ibarra

Honorable Mention “May we NEVER forget” by Julie Matulle

The winners received a plaque during the Women In Trucking reception at the recent Great American Trucking Show in Dallas.

Source of article click here:  Today's Trucking

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Ford Boosts Strip Chassis Output
PHP-Nuke Ford Motor Co. is increasing production of Class A motorhome and strip commercial chassis by 35% to meet renewed demand for recreational vehicles, the company announced.

Ford also is increasing production capacity of its 6.8-liter V10 gasoline engine used in the lineup.

The news arrived just as aftermarket supplier ROUSH CleanTech announced that it has developed a propane-fuel setup for Ford strip chassis models.

The Ford F-53 motorhome and F-59 commercial chassis are built by Ford partner Detroit Chassis at a facility in Detroit. The 6.8-liter V10 gasoline engine is built in Canada at Ford’s Windsor engine plant in Ontario.

 For the motorhome chassis, Ford supplies frame rails, suspension, powertrain and steering components to Detroit Chassis for assembly into motorhomes. Shipments of the chassis were up 14% in 2012 but growth rose dramatically as the year closed, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association.

Sales growth hit 33% in December and 43% in the fourth quarter of last year, Ford said, citing data from RVIA. Ford F-53 commercial chassis registrations reached their highest levels in 2012 since 2007.

The V-10 engine found in both produces 362 horsepower and 457 pound-feet. of torque, and can be factory-prepped for CNG operation. The engine’s production capacity will increase 25% by next year to meet strong demand from commercial customers, Ford said. The engine is also used in E-Series vans, F-Series Super Duty chassis cabs and the F-650 medium-duty truck.

Meanwhile, an alternative fuel option for the engines has emerged in the aftermarket.
ROUSH CleanTech announced the availability of propane fuel systems for the F-53, F-59 and E-450 stripped chassis models.

The company said it has been selected by Ford as a “qualified vehicle modifier” for the models. ROUSH CleanTech said the systems fulfill certification requirements in all 50 states by the California Air Resources Board and Environmental Protection Agency and achieve the same torque, towing and horsepower as conventionally fueled models.

Source: Transport Tpics
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Hastings on Mexico
Hasting On Mexico. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Fruit Grower Report.

Our neighbors to the south play a large role in the ag industry of the Pacific Northwest. Everything from labor to exports, besides Canada, Mexico has a major influence on agriculture. Washington Congressman Doc Hastings has been discussing some of those major issues including comments made by Mexico’s President, Felipe Calderon about immigration reform.

HASTINGS: There has been no legislation at all introduced in the House in fact the House in the last 2 ½ years have not even had a hearing on any pieces of immigration reform so I suspect that will simply not be the case now. There’s talk in the Senate but even that has been suggest that there’s simply not enough time before the election to accomplish that so time will tell, we’ll see.

Mexico's President told Congress that he strongly opposes a tough new immigration law in Arizona. Calderon said Arizona police can now legally use racial profiling to enforce the new law and told congress comprehensive immigration reform is "crucial to securing our common border." According to Hastings, Calderon didn’t mention the trucking issue.

HASTINGS: My understanding was that this is one of the issues that was going to be talked about, he obviously did not say anything about that in his speech. Ironically when he did speak he said that there ought to be a lot of economic activity between the two countries. I find it hard where there is this tariff facing certain parts of our economy especially the tree fruit industry and the processed potato industry in our areas so you know it was kind of a mixed message here but he did not say anything about it in his speech.

That’s today’s Fruit Grower Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.

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Nulogx Inc.: The Canadian General Freight Index
Results published today by the Canadian General Freight Index (CGFI) indicate that the cost of ground transportation for Canadian Shippers increased in September for the first time since April; primarily due to increases in fuel prices.

The CGFI September results show that Fuel Surcharges assessed by carriers continued their recent upward trend, increasing eight percent month over month, and 26% since their lowest point last May. When the impact of rising Fuel Surcharges is removed from the CGFI findings, Base Rates actually declined slightly, dropping an additional point six percent (.6%) from August results.

"Ground freight costs which have trended down for more than a year appear to have bottomed and are starting to increase again," says Alan Saipe, President, Supply Chain Surveys Inc., and long time analyst and observer of the transportation and logistics industry. "In September, Less Than Truck Load (LTL) Base Rates reversed their recent trend and increased. Although Truck Load (TL) rates declined in September, when Base Rates for all categories of ground transportation were combined, and the impact of rising Fuel Surcharges was included, total Ground Transportation costs increased point eight percent (.8%).

The CGFI is sponsored by Nulogx, a leading Transportation Management Solutions provider used by shippers and carriers to benchmark performance, develop business plans, and secure competitive agreements. It was developed with the assistance of Dr. Alan Saipe. The most recent results are available at the CGFI website:

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US national average drops another 13.5 cents to $2.809 for diesel

While the U.S. Energy Information Administration is again reporting good news at the pump as the average price for diesel drops to $2.809 per gallon, some truckers are reporting they are having a hard time finding freight right now.

According to the EIA’s report on Monday, Nov. 17, the price of diesel dropped another 13.5 cents per gallon, which is still makes it a little more than 60 cents per gallon higher than this time frame a year ago.

All nine regions are again reporting decreases in fuel prices with only two regions still reporting fuel averages above the $3 range. The Gulf Coast region is reporting the lowest price for fuel at $2.75 per gallon, while the highest diesel prices are again being reported in the New England region at $3.148 per gallon.

Below are the regional prices reported by the Department of Energy. To see a map of the states in each of the listed regions, click here.

  • East Coast: $2.939
  • New England: $3.148
  • Central Atlantic: $3.081
  • Lower Atlantic: $2.847
  • Midwest: $2.788
  • Gulf Coast: $2.750
  • Rocky Mountain: $2.824
  • West Coast: $2.772
  • California: $2.754


Energy companies report record income increases
While truckers have been struggling to stay afloat amid slumping profits and low freight rates, the 19 major energy companies are reporting record net income increases – up 82 percent from a year ago – in the third quarter of 2008.

According to the EIA’s Energy Finance Report released last week, the major energy companies’ income netted $48 billion based on consolidated revenues of $428.8 billion in the third quarter.

In other energy news, the EIA announced in its Short-Term Energy Outlook last week that it is sharply cutting its price forecasts for diesel and crude oil for 2009, citing lower world demand in a sluggish economy.

The predicted average price for on-highway diesel will be $2.73 in 2009, which is down $1.08 from its average in 2008.

EIA officials predict that the price of crude oil will average $101.45 per barrel for the remainder of this year, down 9 percent from $111.57, which was previously forecast. In trading on Monday, Nov. 17, crude oil was trading just under $57 per barrel.

The EIA also announced it was lowering its forecast to $63.50 per barrel for oil in 2009, which is down 43 percent from its previous forecast in October.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer
Courtesy of LandLine Magazine
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Speedskater Clara Hughes asks corporate Canada to step up for 2010

CALGARY — With the economy in a downturn, speedskater Clara Hughes says there's no better time for Canadian companies to invest in Olympic athletes.

The Olympic gold medallist has several companies backing her, but seeing teammate Kristina Groves, a double Olympic silver medallist in 2006, with none prompted Hughes to hold a news conference Wednesday urging corporations to put money into Canada's athletes as they prepare for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C.

Her pitch was that Olympic athletes are cheap labour.

"When you look at the millions and billions of dollars put into advertising budgets, the bang for your buck you can get for an athlete, especially right now with so much exposure in Canada, I think it's very little money for what you get in return," Hughes said at Canada Olympic Park.

"It might be a good alternative for big-budget marketing schemes who use only professional athletes. A lot of professional athletes are used in advertisements. They're being paid millions of dollars for those and when you look at turning that into thousands, that's a big jump down and a frugal way to use advertising dollars."

Hughes took on the campaign herself as there were no other athletes at her news conference. Canadian Olympic Committee chief executive officer Chris Rudge said he was unaware Hughes was planning to make a public plea to corporate Canada.

"There's probably no finer person than Clara in the sport world. She's a conscientious individual and cares an awful lot about athletes," Rudge said.

"That many of our athletes don't have personal sponsors, there's probably a lot of validity to that. I don't think it's untoward to say 'hey, these kids are deserving of sponsorship relationships and it could be rewarding for a corporation and we'd like to see more people do it."'

Canada's top athletes for 2010 are funded mostly via taxpayers dollars. They receive about $18,000 a year from Sport Canada.

Own The Podium, a $120-million, five-year business plan designed to help Canada win more medals than any other country in 2010, doles out money to sports federations based on their medal potential in 2010.

Of that $120 million, $55 million comes from the federal government.

"There's so much talk of government funding and the need for more government funding, that I almost think it becomes a crutch that learned on and an assumption that "amateur" or Olympic sport will be funded by the government," Hughes said. "I think the government gives enough and I think it's time for the private sector to step in and to start giving the support and just taking pride in athletes."

The OTP money covers athletes' costs in their sport - travel, training camps, equipment and medical care - but not their mortgages, car payments or utility bills.

"Thirty thousand dollars. I've seen that number thrown around for athletes," Hughes said. "For a corporation, when you look at a $30,000 sponsorship, that's not a huge amount of money when you look at the potential return a sponsor can get in terms of exposure and internal motivation within the company.

"Very little money can go very, very far."

Canadian corporations are involved in 2010, but much of it is going to the Olympic Games themselves and not directly to the athletes.

The goal of the Vancouver organizing committee is to raise $765 million in corporate money to help pay for the Games and VANOC is currently at $743 million. A portion of VANOC's $55-million contribution to Own The Podium is also from the business community.

Hughes says athletes don't want handouts from businesses and are willing to work for their pay.

Among Hughes's corporate backers is the law firm Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt. She gives motivational talks to employees and writes an in-house, on-line journal for employees and their families to read.

Skeleton racer Mellisa Hollingsworth says the money True Energy Trust invested in her in 2004 turned her from the No. 8 slider in the world to the No. 1 slider by 2006, when she also won an Olympic bronze medal.

"I didn't have to work my minimum-wage job and I was able to pay a coach so that I could get quality training in," she explained.

Hollingsworth wears the company logo on her skinsuit, posts their logo on her website and, like Hughes, does public speaking for the company and writes a journal for its employees.

Teammate Michelle Kelly, a former world champion who finished second overall on the World Cup circuit last winter, doesn't have a personal sponsor.

"It's tough as an amateur athletes in Canada, especially in a sport like skeleton, which isn't maybe a mainstream sport," Kelly said. "The funny part is when you talk to any adult or kid, they've all done skeleton in some form. They've all gone down the hill on a toboggan or a Krazy Karpet. We just go faster with helmets."

The trucking company Total Line Transport sponsors Olympic silver medallist Jeff Pain, and a university friend's Vancouver company Events On The Move has offered to help him out. Pain is grateful for their support, but says it doesn't come close to covering his living expenses.

"Struggle, scrape, scrimp," Pain said. "The income in our family is very non-traditional. You don't get a cheque every two weeks. We've learned how to be very good budgetters in my family. My wife works and that brings money in."

Hughes has actually turned away companies who want to sponsor an Olympic gold medallist heading into 2010 because she can't sacrifice training time for those commitments.

But she's appalled no company has seen the value in making Groves their poster girl.

"In particular Kristina, who won two silver medals for Canada, who is an eloquent, beautiful human being and has so much to offer, is socially aware, who works with Right To Play, who goes to schools to share her Olympic dreams, it blows my mind that somebody hasn't grasped on to her," Hughes said. "It blows my mind.

"Why should I have this support and she doesn't? I want to raise awareness because I think it's important and it's why I've had success for 18 years."

Hughes, whose full-time home now is Glen Sutton, Que., says Quebec is an exception in Canada in funding Olympic hopefuls.

"The sponsorship levels of athletes from the corporate sector is completely different than in the rest of Canada," she said. "In Quebec, they really embrace the heroes and not just in an Olympic years, but the four years leading in and the four years leading out.

"I think that if the rest of Canada could embrace that, it would be a completely different story for athletes in this country and we'd have even greater success."

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US Diesel prices average $4.70 nationwide

The national average price for a gallon of on-highway diesel was $4.707 for the week ending Monday, June 2, down 1.6 cents from the previous week according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The average price for the week was $1.908 higher per gallon than the average a year ago.

California ultra-low sulfur diesel averaged the highest by region at $5.027 per gallon, unchanged from the previous week.

The biggest change was a decrease of 2.7 cents in the Lower Atlantic region, where ULSD averaged $4.692 per gallon.

ULSD prices in the East Coast region averaged $4.772, down 1.9 cents from its previous weekly average.

The Central Atlantic region averaged $4.911 after a decrease of one-half a cent, while the New England region averaged a slight increase of three-tenths of a cent to $4.846.

ULSD in the Midwest region averaged $4.653, down 2.4 cents from $4.677, the EIA reported.

The per-gallon average in the Gulf Coast region averaged $4.666, down one cent from $4.676.

The average for ULSD in the West Coast region was $4.884, down one cent from the previous week’s average of $4.894.

The average price did not decrease in the Rocky Mountain region, where the average increased 2.7 cents from $4.659 to $4.686 per gallon.

Early afternoon reporting on the New York Mercantile Exchange showed the price of a barrel of oil trading at $127.76 for July futures. That price was an increase of 41 cents per barrel from Friday, May 30, when trading for July futures closed at $127.35.

Courtesy of LandLine Magazine
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US : Mainstream wakes up to truckers’ plight

Some independent truckers joined in scattered shutdowns nationwide April 1, as others joined in convoys and slowed their rigs to a crawl to protest record-high fuel prices. Still other owner-operators made the decision to keep their wheels moving at their normal pace.

Although it’s virtually impossible to count the number of owner-operators who participated in the April 1 protest, mainstream media coverage of it brought to the forefront the difficult issues truckers are facing with skyrocketing fuel costs and shrinking bottom lines.

Norita Taylor, OOIDA media spokesperson, said she received more than 140 media inquiries on April 1 and 2 from major news stations, newspapers and radio stations around the country wanting to know the Association’s position on the shutdown.

However, she said the media calls have been steadily coming in during recent weeks as wildly fluctuating fuel prices failed to stabilize. Taylor said The New York Times, USA Today and CNN News were among the major mainstream media that contacted her since Monday.

“OOIDA has really been at the mainstream media forefront on the issue of rising fuel costs and how this issue is affecting our members and all independent truckers,” she told Land Line on Wednesday. “Our position has been to support our members in whatever decision they felt was best for their businesses.”

Logging trucker Jessie Henley of Dublin, GA, told Land Line Now on Wednesday that approximately 250 trucks participated in a slow-moving convoy up Interstate 75 to Atlanta, then looped the city on Interstate 285. He said the convoy started out with about 55 trucks, but kept growing.

At one point, Henley said troopers pulled over the two lead trucks to cite them for impeding traffic. But, when the entire convoy pulled over behind them, the troopers gave up on the idea.

“Land Line Now” news reporter Reed Black also talked to OOIDA member Nicholas Rich of New York City, who said 203 owner-operators who haul television and film production equipment voted to shut down for the entire week. Rich said he and other owner-operators will meet on Friday, April 4, to decide whether to start hauling again.

The Associated Press reported on April 1 that truckers on the New Jersey Turnpike staged a short lunchtime protest by slowing to about 20 mph near Newark, “jamming traffic on one of the nation’s most heavily traveled highways.”

Near Florida’s Port of Tampa, The AP reported, more than 50 tractor-trailers rigs “sat idle as their drivers demanded that contractors pay them more to cover their fuel and other costs.”

Three truck drivers were ticketed for impeding traffic on Interstate 55, driving side-by-side at slow speeds near Chicago, according to The AP.

In Utah, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that a “sprinkling of independent truckers across the state on Tuesday joined in a loosely organized national strike to protest how much they are paying for fuel.”

Several truckers in East Texas also parked their rigs in protest, beginning at midnight Monday, according to Texas news station KLTV.

In Oregon, KATU-2 news station reported that a reaction to the shutdown “was mixed Tuesday on a loosely organized protest of steep fuel prices.”

The San Diego Union-Tribune reportedlittle evidence of a trucker strike on San Diego’s highways, and said the California Highway Patrol reported “business is more or less as usual so far on Tuesday.”

Truckers in Indiana are planning to convoy to the state capitol on April 18, according to organizer Darrell Breeden of JT Express Trucking in Washington, IN. He told “Land Line Now” they are hoping to get the attention of presidential candidates who may be campaigning in the state – and keep the issue of high diesel prices before the public.

Courtesy of LandLine Magazine
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Pioneering carrier ends paper trail; but enforcement still catching up
SURREY, B.C. -- Popular opinion is that electronic on-board recorders for the trucking industry are coming.

But one B.C.-based carrier isn't waiting for a government mandate in the U.S. or Canada. Coastal Pacific Xpress (CPX) in B.C. turned its back on the old paper system and went wireless last year.

"We did two things at that time," explains Jim Mickey, manager and co-owner of CPX. "Once we turned on the e-logs in Canada, we went hard and fast with the new federal hours of service regulations."

The task of equipping all the U.S.-bound trucks with electronic logs was a little more onerous and has taken a bit more time; but as of this month, the entire fleet -- more than 300 trucks -- will be running with electronic logbooks.

An electronic on-board recorder (EOBR) -- or electronic logbook (e-log) -- is tied into the GPS and the engine's ECM. The truck's positioning, speed, distance traveled and odometer, are automatically downloaded. The same display screen mounted in the cab and used to transmit satellite messages to drivers, doubles as the e-log.

Wireless World: Voluntary adoption of EOBRs allows
CPX to open up the purse strings to get driver home. "The entire issue of hours of service and paper logs, is a system that has bothered us for a long time," said Mickey. "You have to assume everyone is not honest and use outside auditors to ensure everyone is in compliance; we find it to be a bit of a farce and it's an industry-wide problem."

The new technology also allowed the company to open up the purse strings and make it easier to get drivers home more. "We decided, about two and a half years ago, we would over a period of time reduce the miles driven in a month and increase pay to accommodate a better work-life balance," says Mickey. "With electronic logs there's an absolute line where you're either in compliance or not; where as with paper logs there's interpretation as to what's in compliance."

As a result, CPX drivers and owner-operators have seen their take-home pay increase by 45 percent in the last two years, and their time on the road decrease. Workday targets for drivers went from 13 to 14 hour days to 10 to 12 hour days, with a target of 500 miles instead of 650 miles.

There are growing concerns, however, that continued adoption of the technology is causing a log jam -- so to speak -- for the enforcement community.

The B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA) recently held a presentation for the Traffic Safety Committee of the B.C. Chiefs of Police Association regarding the use of EOBRs. "The problem for our members is technology has been getting ahead of enforcement," said Louise Yako, vice-president of policy with BCTA.

Members contacted the BCTA with concerns that officers were unaware of how the technology worked and were asking drivers to transcribe the electronic data.

"The RCMP weren't accepting the integrity of the electronic log and wanted it written out, which is the law, so drivers needed to keep an empty log book and transpose the e-log onto paper," said Kevin Johnson.

Johnson has met with RCMP officers privately to demonstrate the transparency of the EOBR system; and admits things are getting better on the road.

"Once they take time to look at the system and understand -- and I'll make myself available as a resource -- this will go away and make their job on the road easier," he explained.

While e-logs have yet to become common practice -- similar to how e-mail has replaced regular mail -- Mickey is satisfied with how the technology has penetrated the market so far. And he considers CPX at the forefront.

"I knew we would be early and I'm okay with it," he says. "We're feeling good about our operation and our compliance."

Courtesy of Today's Trucking
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Big Rig Rage Ends With One Man Stabbed


  • A case of trucker road rage leaves one man stabbed in the chest
  • It happened along Interstate 40 outside Palestine, AR
  • Police are searching for the trucker who did the stabbing; they now believe he is traveling through Tennessee.
The big rig rage started along interstate 40. Police say two truckers got into it on their CB's, but when it got to be just too much, authorities say Kerry Inman pulled his rig into the Love's Truck Stop near Palestine, Arkansas.

It didn't work, the driver of the other rig followed, stabbed Inman, and then took off eastbound. Inman still tried to go on to.

"The victim got into his truck, we don't know why. He continued going over the overpass to get back on the interstate when he passed out and lost control," said Major Stanley Barnes.

Inman then slammed into part of a tire store on the other side of the interstate where you can still see the damage on the lot.

"I don't even know if he had any time to hit his brakes coming down that hill," said Karen Thompson.

Thompson saw the accident. She thought the driver had a heart attack, but one look closer and she was speechless when she saw the driver slumped over the wheel and stabbed in the chest.

"We've been on the road a long time. We've seen quite a few crashes but it was kind of a shock to know that somebody would actually stab somebody over what they said it was over."

Inman was air lifted to the MED where he was last listed in serious condition, but his attacker took off east bound.

Police say he shouldn't get very far. Authorities know their suspect works for CFI trucking and have a lead on where he is.

"Most of these trucking companies have satellite. They monitor their trucks and know where they are at all times. I understand the truck we're looking for is over in Tennessee," said the major.

St. Francis County Sheriff's Department is working with Tennessee State Troopers and the trucking company to locate their suspect and bring him in on a warrant. He will enetually be charged with Battery in the first degree.

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