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How to prevent wheel fires
Trucking News
trailer wheel on fire

Wheel fires can be caused by brake, bearing, and tire problems. And they’re all avoidable.

TORONTO, Ont. — Wheel end fires, while uncommon, are not rare. They usually make the papers and the TV news websites, though. They can produce dramatic footage of thick black smoke and flames consuming an entire trailer – and the tractor, if the ­driver can’t get the two units unhooked fast enough.

The resulting damage often makes a forensic examination impossible. Was the fire caused by a brake, bearing, or tire problem?

The underlying cause for these fires is always excessive heat that manages to ignite a tire or some stray oil or grease at the wheel end.

In a presentation last September to the American Trucking Associations’ Technology and Maintenance Council, Michelin field engineer Phil Arnold said that rubber compounds begin to break down when tire temperatures exceed 250 F. At 500-550 F flammable vapors develop. And if an ignition source is present, the rubber will start burning at 650-700 F. Spontaneous combustion will occur at 850-900 F.

To put that into perspective, the normal operating temperature range for tires is a between 100 and 150 F.

“Tires contain a great deal of potential energy,” he said. “They are like high-grade coal when they start to burn, and they are very difficult to extinguish.”

When a tire comes apart while driving, it’s usually because of underinflation. Heat generated within the sidewalls of a flexing tire weakens the casing’s steel belts, softening the rubber to the point that it eventually breaks down and the tire blows apart. With tire fires, the heat source is the wheel end. Heat travels through the hub’s metal and through the wheel, where it contacts the tire bead. Since the bead is built differently than the upper sidewall, its rubber just gets hotter and hotter until at some point it begins to burn.

The source of that heat is always ­friction, caused by something like ­dragging brakes.

“There are a lot of different reasons a brake can drag to a point of a thermal event occurring,” says Joseph Kay, Meritor’s director of brake engineering. “In general, it takes a rather large force applied to the brake shoes on a drum brake, or brake pads in a disc brake, to generate substantial rubbing forces that cause the brake system to get hotter and hotter as the vehicle is driven.”

Kay points to several potential sources, including: driving with the parking brake applied; a failed parking chamber diaphragm not compressing the parking spring; brakes not releasing after a brake application; corrosion-related binding of the camshaft or disc brake caliper; malfunctioning slack adjusters; or excessive swelling of the brake linings.

“In most cases the driver will not be able to detect one or maybe two brakes that are dragging because of the engine power and weight of the vehicle,” Kay says. “This is where the driver needs to be aware of excessive smoking from the brakes or any handling differences, such as unusual pull or deceleration.”

Trent Siemens, general manager of Oak Point Service in Winnipeg, agrees. “I’ve known drivers to mistake a dragging brake for a heavier-than-usual load, a headwind, or even terrain that seems to make the engine work a little harder.”

Siemens says the brake pedal itself could be the problem, noting that the truck treadle valve or the brake pedal hinges (in floor-mounted pedals) can stick or seize. “I’ve seen those seize up over time, and the driver won’t always know unless someone flags him down to let him know his brake lights are always on. Keep the brake pedal clear of debris and well lubricated.”

Literally any moving brake part could be a suspect. Valves might not fully exhaust their brake application pressure because of fouling or corrosion. Broken parking brake springs might keep the push rod from fully retracting. S-cams and slack adjusters might need lubrication.

“Proper preventive maintenance and inspection of all wheel end components is critical, as is the proper specification and condition of brake linings,” says Keith McComsey, director of marketing and customer solutions – wheel ends, at Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake.

In other words, each wheel end’s braking system needs to be carefully inspected and confirmed to be in working order, Siemens says.

“If you find any auto-slack-equipped brake out of adjustment, do not just adjust them up and kick it out the door. If they are out of adjustment, diagnose [a] root cause for why the adjuster is over-stroking. It’s probably not the slack adjuster that is at fault.”

Wheel bearings

The interface of the axle and hub is another potential heat source. High-quality wheel bearings, properly installed, properly lubricated, and operated according to the product specifications, seldom fail on their own. Unfortunately, much can go wrong down there due to neglect, oversight, or even the best intentions gone wrong.

Wheel-bearing-related fires can almost always be traced back to a lack of lubrication or improper maintenance – whether the lube is lost due to an outright seal failure, or a seal damaged by water or debris in the bearing well.

Any situation that might increase friction between the axle spindle and the hub needs to be addressed during the installation and maintenance of the wheel end assembly.

“Over tightening the bearing can limit the lube film, which will generate heat, though perhaps not to the level where there’s a risk of a fire,” says Ean Dickerhoof, an application engineer for mobile on-highway products at Timken. “Conversely, excessive endplay can affect seal alignment, compromising seal life, which can allow debris to enter the system or the lubricant to leak out.”

Obviously, seals and lubes need to be inspected at regular intervals, Dickerhoof adds.

“Some people think packing the cavity full of grease is better than partially filling it,” says Michael Gromosiak, Timken’s chief application engineer for mobile products. “There’s a certain percentage fill that’s recommended. If you overfill the cavity you can overheat the bearing because there’s no heat dissipation.”

Timken says bearings typically run less than 175 F under normal driving conditions. Running at 250 F or higher for extended periods of time increases the risk of bearing damage. In the case of complete lube depletion, temperatures will continue to rise, causing a series of damage until the wheel end assembly either fails completely and separates from the truck, or it heats the surrounding materials to a point where the tire ­catches fire.

PM and the driver

While procedures differ for various wheel end assemblies and lubricants, technicians and drivers should at the bare minimum watch for signs of leaking lubricant. Oil-lubricated hubs should be checked every time a trailer enters the shop. The lube should be checked for signs of water contamination (a milky appearance), and smelled to see if it has been subject to high temperatures (it will smell burnt). Also, the condition of the sight glass should be checked.

When working with grease-filled hubs where the lubricant is not visible, the wheel should be jacked up and rotated to check for signs of rough rotation, stiffness or looseness. If the hub cap is removed, verify the correct lube levels to ensure they’re not over-filled, and check for contamination and corrosion on the outer bearing.

Drivers are the last line of defense against wheel end fires, but they can’t be expected to notice everything or even know what to look for without proper training. It also takes extra time for ­drivers to complete thorough pre-trip, post-trip, and en-route inspections.

They should be instructed to touch and smell the wheel hub area to spot excessive temperatures and telltale odors linked to overheated brakes or wheel ends.

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Vision, Enbridge team up to promote CNG trucks
Trucking News

One of the tractors being offered for rent by Vision Truck Group.


TORONTO, Ont. – Vision Truck Group and Enbridge Gas are teaming up to rent natural gas vehicles, offering businesses a chance to test drive the technology without shouldering the premium purchase cost.

The equipment will be available for the same cost as diesel power units, even though the trucks that run on compressed natural gas (CNG) could cost as much as $210,000.

Natural gas engine maker Cummins Westport is also collaborating in the project. Three trucks are initially available.

“This technology is not brand new, but this business approach is,” Vision customer relationship and brand manager Greig Howlett said in an interview with Truck News.

Vision is the first dealership in Canada to offer CNG trucks for rent, he said.

Those who are environmentally conscious, and want to bring down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, should go for it, Howlett said.

Natural gas vehicles can reduce GHG emissions by up to 25%, according to the Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance.

Bruce Winchester, executive director of the alliance, praised the initiative as a good step.

“This demo program is quite unique, and I think it will generate a lot of interest,” he said.

The first company to test one of the Vision vehicles is Bunzl Canada, a cleaning and hygiene products supplier, which has begun using the truck on delivery routes in southwestern Ontario.

The company called the pilot project an “exciting opportunity” to reduce its environmental footprint on some of its busiest routes.

There are between 2,000 and 5,000 CNG trucks operating in Canada, and up to 90,000 in the U.S., Winchester said. He put the number of CNG stations in Canada at 42, many of them in the key corridors of Ontario and Quebec.

Worldwide, natural gas powers more than 27 million vehicles including two-wheelers, according to NGV Global Statistics.

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Ontario truck driver tickled pink at Iowa 80
Trucking News
Eva Knelsen

Eva Knelsen secured a pair of trophies at the Iowa 80 Truckers Jamboree. (Photo: David Henry)

WALCOTT, Iowa – You could say that Eva Knelsen was tickled pink to attend the 40th annual Iowa 80 Truckers Jamboree.

The Ontario driver was pulling double duty at this year’s event, working a booth to raise funds for breast cancer research, and still finding the time to apply polish to her Kenworth — securing first place for in the 2016-19 working truck combo category and a bronze for custom graphics. When she went to accept her awards in pink heels, the announcer also proclaimed she was the best dressed driver.

It’s been a long, difficult journey to get here, though.

Knelsen’s family wasn’t thrilled by her plans to become a truck driver, even though the self-professed tomboy decided on the career path as a teenager. As one of 15 children from a conservative Mennonite family, it’s not what her parents expected. But she still remembers a day, at the age of 13, when she and her siblings were waving frantically at a passing truck.

She was full of questions back then. “Can you see what they’re driving? Can you see where they’re going? They get to see everything!”

Experience with heavy equipment came early. She worked with her family on tobacco farms when she was nine, and by the time she was 12 she was driving a tractor and cultivating fields. Formal schooling stopped at Grade 8, but she completed her high school equivalency through correspondence.

By 21 she had a truck licence of her own. Eight months after that she secured her first job at Trailwood Transport. No experience necessary.

Her dad said the job was not for women, especially not Mennonite women. Knelsen was undeterred. Her parents wouldn’t talk to her for four years because of the resulting rift. They chose to believe that women in trucking had loose moral standards.

“It hurt … a lot … I got used to being alone. That just made me tougher,” says the driver, who goes by the handle of Driverette.

And who said tough truckers can’t like pink?

After going to work for West Coast Transportation a few years ago, fleet owner Don English approached her with the idea of wrapping a truck and trailer to support the fight against breast cancer, which had taken the life of his girlfriend’s mother.

Knelsen was enamored with the final wrap, designed with her help.

“I was in pink heaven,” she says, referring to the first day she saw the truck that came to be known as Ken Worth. Two days after it was finished she secured a second place trophy at the Trucking for a Cure convoy in Woodstock, Ont. More than 600,000 km later, she continues to collect the hardware.

She is meticulous in maintaining and upgrading the truck, too. When the underglow lights on the tractor weren’t pink enough, she picked some up at the Iowa 80 truck stop and wired them up herself. She also uses her own money to buy the merchandise to support her breast cancer fundraising efforts.

Because she knows just how powerful a message wrapped in pink can be.

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Truck insurance review underway
Trucking News
truck crash

TORONTO, Ont. – A national review by Facility Association – an insurer of last resort for fleets that can’t secure coverage elsewhere – is looking to keep carriers and brokers from misrepresenting themselves when negotiating insurance premiums.

The Ontario Trucking Association and selected insurers began to shine a light on the issue last year, following reports that a growing number of truck fleets were being covered by Facility Association. Other truck fleets are believed to be paying higher insurance rates as a result.

“When applied for an issued properly, insurance with Facility Association has a legitimate and important role in supporting the trucking industry,” said OTA president Stephen Laskowski. “Our goal in partnering with the Facility Association is not to eliminate these legitimate uses, but rather to review with insurance regulators the existing Commercial Residual Market insurance policy framework – and ensure the proper rating of carriers that reflects road safety and fleet responsibility in this market.”

The national review itself was launched this May, following a meeting between the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA), insurance industry representatives, and the Facility Association (FA) executive team, OTA reports.

The OTA’s own Facility Association Commercial Underwriting Working Group began to meet in June, and will continue working throughout 2019 to review specific technical issues relating to underwriting rules and procedures. It wants to make recommendations regarding underwriting rules, documentation requirements, a fraud mitigation strategy, audit strategy, and key risk indicators.

Facility Association emerged in the 1970s, after governments began to mandate automotive insurance. The insurer of last resort now operates in Alberta, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, P.E.I., and the Yukon.

The rising cost of truck insurance, and the challenge of getting coverage in the first place, was recently highlighted during a rolling protest by a group of Toronto-area aggregate haulers.

They’re among a growing list of fleets and owner-operators who face higher premiums as insurers re-evaluate the risks they’re willing to cover. Some insurers are simply stepping away from trucking industry sectors thought to represent an unacceptable risk – like the aggregate haulers serving construction activities in and around Toronto.

Truck insurance claims have generally been rising quicker than original projections because of factors such as pricey legal settlements and technology-laden trucks that can be costly to repair.

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Man steals truck in Maine to haul ‘missiles up to Canada’
Trucking News

The truck was stolen in Veazie by a Massachusetts man who was apprehended not too far from border.

BANGOR — Police say a Massachusetts man stole a flatbed truck in Maine and drove 80 miles north, saying he was on a mission to haul “missiles up to Canada.”

The Bangor Daily News reports that a 26-year-old man from Chelmsford, Massachusetts, was arrested last weekend at a home in Herseytown Township, Maine, about 45 miles from Canada.

The truck was reported stolen from American Concrete Industries in Veazie. The company’s owner said the truck had unsecured manhole assemblies that could’ve been lethal if they’d fallen off.

The arresting trooper said the defendant exhibited signs of instability during his interrogation, and a judge has ordered a mental health examination. It was unknown if he has a lawyer.

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Canada’s Conservative leader vows to kill carbon tax, fuel standards
Trucking News

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The Top 10 risks for truck drivers
Trucking News
Truck driver injury

The Ontario Ministry of Labour turned to representatives of the trucking industry to identify the top risks that lead to driver injuries.

TORONTO, Ont. – Driving a truck can be a risky job, and the Ontario Ministry of Labour has tapped into trucking-related expertise to identify the underlying issues that contribute to workplace injuries.

Distracted driving, driver fatigue, and the actions of other careless drivers were identified as the Top 3 factors that could lead to an injury in the general freight sector.

“This is what kept people up at night,” corporate risk officer Sujoy Dey said, referring to the issues that trucking industry representatives identified during a recent workshop.

Rounding out the Top 10 risks in trucking’s general freight sector were:

  • Everyday car drivers who are not trained in truck awareness
  • Driving conditions
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Stress
  • Inadequate or insufficient training, skills and qualifications
  • Illness resulting from the lifestyle of a long-distance truck driver
  • Working at heights (tarping loads)

While participating workers and employers agreed on most of the threats, there were differences.

Workers, for example, placed the risk of a trucking lifestyle-related illness at the top of their list, followed by distracted driving and driver fatigue. Following that were the inadequate or insufficient training and skills; careless motorists; driving conditions; slips, trips and falls; and a lack of truck-related awareness training for car drivers. Stress and working at heights (tarping loads) rounded out the Top 10.

Employer lists were topped by distracted driving, driver fatigue, and driving conditions, followed by other careless drivers, and car drivers who are not trained to be aware of trucks. Rounding out their Top 10 were slips, trips and falls; stress; working at heights; a lack of road maintenance; and inadequate or insufficient training, skills or qualifications.

There were 105 situations or conditions considered overall.

“It’s trying to get to the causal factors that may lead to an injury,” Dey says of the need for workshops like these. “We must be able to follow these weaknesses in the system and keep plugging them … The need to find quick fixes or one-size-fits-all fixes does not work.”

Dey’s work is anchored in what’s known as the “Swiss cheese model” of accident causation, which looks at “active failures” like unsafe acts linked to an accident, but also considers the underlying “latent failures” that contribute to a situation. An unsafe action, for example, could be linked to a lack of training as well as a driver’s fatigue during a particular moment in time.

“The ability to do a deep dive is important because the intervention here is dirt cheap,” Dey adds. “We need to get out of the blame game.”

Similar workshops have already been conducted in the mining and agricultural sectors, and the emerging lists will be used by the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association.

Represented employers included AMJ Campbell, Erb Transportation, JBT Transport, Midland Transport, and Paul Quail Transport. Worker representatives were from Apps Transport, the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association, Sharp Transportation Systems, Cooney Bulk Sales, and Loblaws.

Above all, the trucking industry itself is in the best position to find ways to address the risks, Dey stresses.

“Innovation lies with the regulated, not the regulator.”

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Saskatchewan rest areas reopen
Trucking News

The Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA) is applauding the provincial government reversing its decision to close nine rest stops.

Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure indicated last week that the rest stops would no longer be available to the public, a move that was met with complaints from several motorists, leading to the reversal.

The rest stops in question are located along the Trans-Canada Highway, Hwy 7, and Hwy 9; two of these rest stops are specifically for semi trucks.

Susan Ewart, executive director for the STA, told Truck News-West that the association is delighted with the announcement that the rest stops will remain open.

The STA will be part of a committee that will provide feedback to the government on the future of rest areas in the province.

“We are pleased with the announcement that our government recognizes the need to work with and consult the trucking industry as a major stakeholder on the need for adequate rest stops in Saskatchewan,” said Ewart. “We will be working to identify where in our province the rest stops need to be and what that might look like into the future.”

The STA, along with other provincial trucking associations, have long advocated for additional rest areas for commercial drivers, particularly given the upcoming electronic logging device mandate coming to Canada in 2021.

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New NAFTA rules of origin need more clarity: C.D. Howe Institute
Trucking News

Toronto, ON — The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) sets out rules of origin for auto products that need greater clarity to provide certainty for the businesses who must apply them, states a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute.

In “Bumper to Bumper: Will the CUSMA Rules of Origin Make America’s Auto Industry Great Again?” Jon R. Johnson, a former advisor to the Canadian government during the NAFTA negotiations, takes a deep dive into the arcane rules of origin that will determine whether a good is eligible for duty-free treatment and finds they are still unclear in many cases, more stringent than those in NAFTA, and needlessly complex.

In the negotiations for a new NAFTA, notes Johnson, the Trump administration targeted the North American auto industry for major change. The Trump administration objected to the NAFTA rules of origin as permitting too much non-NAFTA content in North American automobiles, and was fixated on the US’s significant balance-of-trade deficit with Mexico, most of which is accounted for by trade in automotive goods.

For Canada’s auto industry, there is much at stake. In 2017, Canada exported automotive goods to the United States valued at close to $62 billion, and the US market is overwhelmingly the destination for vehicles produced in Canada. “It is important that the rules of origin with which the Canadian automotive industry must work be transparent and administratively workable,” says Johnson.

The author analyzes the CUSMA rules of origin for automotive goods, identifies ambiguities and areas of uncertainty, and makes suggestions for clarifications through the adoption of Uniform Regulations —for which CUSMA fortunately provides — that will create greater certainty.

“Adapting to the CUSMA rules will require major adjustments in supply chains,” says Johnson. “This is particularly the case with the substantially higher Regional Value Content (RVC) thresholds required for most automotive goods.”

Further, the CUSMA rules of origin are needlessly complex. There are multiple categories of parts for different categories of vehicles with varying RVC requirements that depend on the end use of the part. “Complexity increases compliance costs, which are burdensome for all producers, but particularly for smaller producers that are less able to have difficulty affording investment in expensive compliance systems,” says Johnson.

The CUSMA rules of origin regime contains two requirements that are unprecedented in such regimes; namely a steel and aluminum purchase requirement and a labour-value content requirement. These are performance requirements that are consistent with a managed trade regime (where rules are designed to achieve certain economic outcomes) and not with a free trade regime (which seeks to remove barriers to trade so that economic results are dictated by market forces).

Two reports cast doubt on the benefits of the deal for the US. A US International Trade Commission report found, overall, the new rules should lead to a modest increase in employment in the US automotive sector, but the costs of vehicles produced in the United States will increase and production of vehicles there will decline. An International Monetary Fund working paper states quite bluntly that the tighter auto rules of origin will not achieve their desired outcomes by reason of higher costs, increased consumer prices and reduced demand.

The author advises North American automotive producers to actively involve themselves in the Uniform Regulations process, by carefully reviewing the CUSMA rules of origin and urging their respective governments to negotiate and implement Uniform Regulations that clarify ambiguities, establish procedures that reduce compliance costs and facilitate routine application of the rules.

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Maxim’s donation supports indigenous communities
Trucking News

Troy Hamilton (left) presents a cheque to Charles Roberts

WINNIPEG, Man. —
Maxim Truck and Trailer has signed a three-year, $150,000 commitment to support Live Different’s Canadian Youth Fund, the company announced this week.

The donation will support Live Different’s work in indigenous communities across Canada, it said.

“We are thrilled to partner with Live Different to help bring positive youth development programming to indigenous communities across Canada,” says Troy Hamilton, president of Maxim Truck and Trailer.

“I have personally seen the impact of Live Different’s work and we are excited to support their programs designed to inspire youth to recognize their value and potential.”

Live Different was established as a Canadian charity in 2000.

“We are honored to partner with Maxim as it is clear that our values are completely aligned,” says Charles Roberts, executive director of Live Different.

Maxim has been a long-time supporter of many charities including those funding community organizations, the arts, amateur sports and health.

The company operates in 11 cities, employing some 600 people.

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Voyager 5200 helps you hear and be heard
Trucking News

Good communication is essential to the trucking industry as a whole and to individual drivers in specific. Without it, things can go badly — or come to a halt — pretty quickly.

So, hearing and being heard is as important as the engine turning over when you turn the key, and your truck coming to a safe stop when you put on the brakes. 

The Plantronics Voyager 5200 headset helps ensure incoming and outgoing messages are loud and clear. And it does so with comfort and without costing you an arm and a leg. 

The Voyager 5200 features up-to-date noise-canceling technology to make sure all your calls are clear. It’s also lightweight so you can wear it for even your longest trips.

The Voyager 5200:

  • Has up to seven hours of non-stop talk from a single charge, and up to nine days in standby mode
  • Automatically detects if it’s being worn, directing audio where you expect to hear it
  • Features four microphones that work to cancel disruptive background noises
  • Announces the names of incoming callers and waits for you to say “Answer” or “Ignore”
  • Lets you activate Siri, Google Now, or Cortana with the touch of a button on the headset
  • Lets you locate your lost headset, change languages, or personalize settings and alerts with Plantronics Hub, a free mobile app
  • Features Bluetooth version 4.1 with an extended mobile range of up to 98 feet

The Voyager 5200 is available online and at travel centers for about $100.

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Eaton extends clutch warranties
Trucking News

Eaton clutches

Eaton has extended the warranties for its Advantage and EverTough Series of aftermarket clutches.

The Advantage Self-Adjust and Easy Pedal Advantage clutches are now covered for three years and unlimited miles, up from two years. The standard warranty periods for the EverTough Self-Adjust and EverTough Manual Adjust clutches increase to two years and unlimited miles, up from one year.

The new warranties apply to designated clutches purchased on or after July 1.

Advantage Series clutches include a specially tuned, dual-damper system to absorb engine vibrations and prevent idle rattle, while soft rate springs protect driveline components. They also offer 80,000-km lubrication intervals, and feature two wear indicators.

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U.S. imposes lifetime ban on commercial drivers convicted of human trafficking
Trucking News

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation has permanently banned drivers convicted of human trafficking from operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

The ruling was issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on Tuesday.

“This is an important step in the department-wide campaign to keep America’s roadways, railways, airways and waterways from being used for human trafficking,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

The new rule prohibits an individual from operating a CMV for life if that individual uses a CMV in committing a felony involving a severe form of human trafficking, the announcement said.

The rule also revises the list of offenses permanently disqualifying individuals from operating a CMV for which a commercial driver’s license or a commercial learner’s permit is required.

“The commercial motor vehicle industry is uniquely positioned to help detect and report human trafficking, and thankfully professional drivers’ efforts often bring an end to these tragic situations. Sadly, however, some human trafficking activities are facilitated by the use of commercial trucks or buses,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond Martinez.

“By enforcing a lifetime ban on any CMV driver convicted of severe human trafficking, we aim to deliver a strong and effective deterrent to this abhorrent behavior.”

In 2017, the Department of Homeland Security identified over 500 victims of human trafficking and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimated 1 out of every 7 runaways were likely victims of child sex trafficking.

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Founder of Paul’s Hauling passes away
Trucking News

WINNIPEG, Man. – Paul Albrechtsen, founder of Winnipeg, Man.-based trucking company Paul’s Hauling, died July 7 at the age of 88.

A philanthropist who donated to several causes over his life, including a $5 million donation to St. Boniface Hospital in 2015, Albrechtsen had been in the industry since immigrating from Denmark in 1954.

Saving enough money to purchase his first truck, Albrechtsen established Paul’s Hauling in 1957. Two years later, the company had a fleet of eight trucks, hauling crude oil and salt water for the petroleum industry.

First located in Brandon, Man., the company moved to Winnipeg in 1961, where a terminal was constructed on the Oak Point Highway. Today, the carrier also has locations in Saskatchewan and Ontario.

Over the years, Albrechtsen also made donations to the HSC Foundation and the Reh-Fit Centre.

Paul’s Hauling has set up a scholarship fund, which has handed out money totaling $84,000 to 27 sons and daughters of its employees.

Albrechtsen was a strong believer in the people working at Paul’s Hauling, stating on the company’s website that he was “blessed with excellent staff,” and that “if you want your people to do a good job, you have to give them the right equipment and tools. And our people do an excellent job!”

Albrechtsen was also named a Member of the Order of Canada in 2018.

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Purolator taps ex-DHL executive to grow cross-border business
Trucking News

Purolator has hired a former DHL executive in a bid to strengthen the Canadian transportation and logistics firm’s cross-border and international business. 

Paul Tessy joins the Toronto-based company as senior vice president, overseeing its international division. He spent 13 years in a variety of positions at DHL, most recently CEO for Latin America and Canada for its eCommerce Americas Division.

“Enhancing our U.S.-Canada cross-border capabilities is an integral component of our growth strategy,” said Purolator CEO John Ferguson said in a statement on July 9. “Paul is a seasoned leader in the shipping and logistics industry. His international experience of building and growing parcel businesses and developing high-performing sales and operations teams will allow us to provide a more robust product and service offering to new customers in untapped markets.”

Tessy will oversee the company’s U.S. subsidiary Purolator International. It has 31 locations in the U.S. and offers courier, parcel and less-than-truckload services, with a focus on U.S.-Canada transportation. 

Purolator offered no details about how it planned to improve its U.S-Canada cross border services. The company did not immediately return FreightWaves’ request for comment.

Tessy’s hiring comes two weeks after Purolator announced June 25 that it was investing C$1 billion to expand capacity, including a forthcoming superhub near Toronto. 

Purolator is Canada’s largest courier. Canada Post owns more than 90 percent of the company.


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Purkeys reveals accessory battery charger
Trucking News
Purkeys SteadyCharge

SteadyCharge will maintain accessory batteries for months without overcharging them.

Purkeys’ new SteadyCharge accessory battery charger will monitor and maintain accessory batteries that support trailer refrigeration and heating units.

Inactive batteries will naturally discharge over time and can drain during seasonal periods when dependent engines are not running, the company says. The parasitic loads from built-in telematics systems can also drain starter batteries within just a few days when sitting idle.

SteadyCharge will maintain the batteries for months without overcharging them, and will run whenever the tractor is connected to the trailer. No extra charging cables are required, and the system automatically charges the system using an existing seven-way cable without interfering with other devices on the auxiliary circuit.

Purkeys says it will extend the lifespan of existing batteries by up to 500%.

SteadyCharge units weigh 10 lb., meet SAE J1455 testing criteria, and are IP66 rated for exterior mounting on the trailer body. Their logic controllers include a low-voltage disconnect to protect tractor batteries and can be programmed to any related setpoint. Temperature-compensated charging also optimizes charging characteristics to match the operating climate.

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Ontario updates SPIF rules
Trucking News

TORONTO, Ont. – Ontario has introduced the latest updates to the weights and dimensions linked to Safe, Productive, and Infrastructure-Friendly (SPIF) vehicles.

As of July 1, Regulation 413/05 eliminated the special vehicle configuration permits required to operate long-wheelbase tractors with multi-axle semitrailers, longer saddlemounts, and trailers equipped with smart lift axles.

The recent changes extend the same tire weight allowances to wide-based single tires and dual tires when mounted on single axles; allow boats to be hauled by stinger-steer auto carriers under the same weight and dimensional limits; and allow for an emergency lift axle override, making it possible to lift a self-steering axle in emergency situations.

“SPIF vehicles are designed to perform more safely on our highways and within an acceptable amount of space. They are also designed to better protect bridges and pavement from excessive wear while maintaining industry productivity,” says Joe Lynch, senior vehicle standards engineer with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. “Technical changes include a move to self-steering axles in place of rigid lift-axles and a requirement that axles automatically load-equalize under all conditions of loading.”

Semitrailers and double-trailers were addressed in the first three phases of SPIF reforms, completed between 2000 and 2006. Straight trucks, truck-trailers and buses were the focus in changes that came in July 2011.

Once grandfathering periods end, the affected vehicles can be upfitted to SPIF standards or be treated as non-SPIF equipment at Highway Traffic Act length and weight limits as well as gross weight limits under Regulation 413/05 Table 32.

Additional details will be available on the ministry’s website at http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/trucks/index.shtml.

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Atlantic truck drivers to test VR simulators
Trucking News

TRURO, N.S. – The federal government is investing more than $690,000 in a project that will test the value of virtual reality (VR) training simulators for truck drivers.

The research, spearheaded by Trucking Human Resources Sector Council (THRSC) – Atlantic, is one of 10 new initiatives being funded through Canada’s Future Skills Centre.

“We want to look at assessing drivers and be able to look at the VR simulators. Is there a potential it can support, upgrade, enhance skills for truck drivers?” asks Kelly Henderson, executive director of THRSC – Atlantic.

The council hopes to monitor 150 drivers over the next two years, including new Canadians entering the trucking industry through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot or other channels. The work will be based on four iMVR Iris simulators with eye-tracking capabilities.

This won’t be THRSC – Atlantic’s first exposure to the technology, however. The council already has a fixed and mobile simulator, which to date has focused on presentations for high school students. “It’s really changed their perception,” Henderson says of the way it introduces students to the skills that truck drivers require.

“It’s going to be fascinating,” Henderson says. “It’ll be interesting to see what comes out.”

The Future Skills Centre funding is part of a $7.65-million investment to test “novel approaches to skills development.” Other initiatives will focus on oil and gas workers in Calgary, adult learners in Manitoba, at-risk auto workers in Ontario, mid-career workers with disabilities, and cashiers and meat processing workers across Canada.

“The nature of work is changing, and Canadians need to be equipped with the skills necessary to find the good, quality jobs of the future. These 10 new innovative projects will test new training approaches, across a number of sectors, to support Canadian workers to keep their skills up to date and in demand,” says Patty Hajdu, minister of workforce development and labor.

The Future Skills Centre is a partnership between Ryerson University, the Conference Board of Canada, and a non-profit research organization known as Blueprint.

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In Court Filing, Prime Inc. Says Amazon’s Use of ‘Prime’ Causes Confusion
Trucking News

Prime Inc. says Amazon’s display of “Prime” on its shipping vehicles creates a likelihood of confusion with Prime Inc.'s trucking business, a July 2 complaint in the Western District of Missouri says.

Prime Inc. says it’s been providing trucking services since 1970, and has been using the “Prime Inc.” mark in commerce since 1980. It filed to register a trademark for “Prime Inc.” covering trucking services in 2011 and 2017, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office refused registration both times, citing a likelihood of confusion with Amazon’s “Prime” mark covering shipping services.

Prime Inc., which ranks No. 18 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America, argued that Amazon creates a likelihood of confusion by displaying “Prime” on trucks and other shipping vehicles that transport goods to Amazon Prime members. Amazon is giving “the false impression the services provided by Amazon are provided, authorized, endorsed by, or in some manner associated with, Prime Inc.,” the complaint says.

Amazon’s registration for “Prime” covering shipping services should also be canceled because Amazon defrauded the PTO, Prime Inc. said. The complaint says Amazon falsely represented it was providing an “expedited shipping service for others” in its 2005 application when it “did not itself transport any goods, even to its retail customers and Prime loyalty program members, until approximately 2015.”

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Springfield, Mo.-based Prime Inc. seeks cancellation of Amazon’s trademark registration, injunctive relief, damages and attorneys’ fees.

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PTL executives buy back company from parent Magnate Worldwide
Trucking News

Expedited transportation provider Premium Transportation Logistics’ (PTL) top two executives have joined with a recently hired sales executive to acquire PTL from Magnate Worldwide, which had bought Toledo-based PTL in March 2017.

The buyers include Jeff Curry, PTL’s president; Keith Avery, its operations manager; and Brad Kelley, a sales executive who recently joined PTL. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. PTL has annual revenue in the low-eight figure range, Curry said.

Magnate owns air freight service provider TrumpCard; customs broker and international logistics provider Masterpiece International; and freight forwarder and customs broker Domek Logistics. Magnate is based in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. 

The three PTL executives have a strong connection with transport and logistics provider XPO Logistics, Inc. (NYSE:XPO). Avery was a co-founder and Curry the president of Express-1, which started in 1989 as an expedited transport concern. Brad Jacobs acquired Express-1 in 2011 for $150 million and then re-branded the company. Kelley was a top sales executive at Express-1.

In an email, Curry said the acquisition will allow PTL to focus on transportation services with its owner-operator fleet, and allow Magnate to concentrate on freight forwarding and customs brokerage.

Magnate CEO Dante Fornari said in a separate email that the decision to sell PTL emerged over the past few months. PTL, Fornari said, “will be able to compete even more effectively in the expedited market, having additional flexibility to make commercial and operating adjustments as customer end-markets change.” In addition, Magnate can “focus on our two core service platforms…where we believe we have an expanding high value (and) specialized service offering,” Fornari said.

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