Latest Industry News Briefs Courtesy of PMTA
ATA Truck Tonnage Index Jumped 7.4% in April
Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index surged 7.4% in April after decreasing 2% in March. In April, the index equaled 121.8 (2015=100) compared with 113.4 in March.
“The surge in truck tonnage in April is obviously good for trucking, but it is important to examine it in the context of the broader economy,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “February and March were particularly weak months, as evidenced by the 3.5% dip in tonnage due to weather and other factors, so some of the gain was a catch-up effect. In addition, the Easter holiday was later than usual, likely pushing freight that would ordinarily be moved in March into April.
“I do not think the fundamentals underlying truck tonnage are as strong as April’s figure would indicate, but this may signal that any fears of a looming freight recession may have been overblown,” he said.
March’s reading was revised up compared with our April press releasee.
Compared with April 2018, the SA index increased 7.7%, the largest year-over-year gain since July.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 117.7 in April, 1% above March level (116.6). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.
Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 70.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.77 billion tons of freight in 2017. Motor carriers collected $700.1 billion, or 79.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.
ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.
EPA Hits Sweet Spot in RFS Reform, Fuel Retailers Say
Alexandria, VA… NATSO, the national association representing truckstops and travel plazas, the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA), the trade associations representing the fuel retailing community in the United States, today commended the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for finalizing only those aspects of its RIN Market Reform Proposal that enhance disclosure requirements.
The final rule, which also allows for the sale of E-15 year-round throughout the United States, sets aside certain proposals that would have reduced the incentives for fuel retailers who buy, sell and blend renewable fuels.
“We are still analyzing the rule, but at first glance we are pleased that EPA appears to have hit the sweet spot here by reasonably enhancing disclosure requirements without altering market participants’ behavior,” the trade associations said in a joint statement. “We appreciate that EPA chose not to promulgate unnecessary regulations that came with a high likelihood of unintended, counterproductive consequences.”
EPA initially had proposed a number of reforms that would have reduced the incentives for retailers to continue buying, blending and selling renewable fuels. In comments filed with EPA as part of the rulemaking process, the fuel retailing groups opposed those reforms, which would have disrupted the market.
They did not object to the sale of E-15 year-round, nor did they oppose enhanced disclosure requirements.
The trade associations are pleased that the agency’s final rule ensures that fuel marketers continue to have a strong incentive to incorporate renewable fuels into the fuel supply.
Hoffa: Allowing Teens To Drive Trucks Interstate Would Jeopardize Safety
WASHINGTON… The following is a statement from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa about a proposed federal pilot program that would allow drivers as young as 18 to transport goods via trucks in interstate commerce.
“The decision by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to propose a pilot program that would lower the commercial driver’s license restriction from 21 to 18 is of grave concern to those who use the roadways as their workplace every day.
“During the last highway bill, the FAST Act, Congress dictated how FMCSA could approach this topic. FMCSA was told it could do so in a highly controlled manner using only veterans and other members of the military who had experience driving during their time in the service. That safeguard was an important step towards counter-acting the enormous safety risks inherent with having teenagers running tractor trailers across long distances. Ignoring that decision and unilaterally deciding to explore a much broader pilot program represents a dismissive wave of the hand to the will of Congress.
“This program is also being discussed under the auspices of easing a driver shortage that mainly plagues one subset of the trucking industry. Instead of discussing the rampant turnover that part of industry faces, or the low pay and tough working conditions those drivers endure, we are disappointed to see the agency only focus on how they can get more drivers into these jobs with no suggestions of how to improve the quality of the work while they are there. Younger drivers should not be expected to tolerate substandard working conditions any more than their older counterparts. Asking them to do so while also potentially jeopardizing the safety of all road users only makes this decision more troubling.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.
MTO Considers Smart Lift Axles on Trailers, Longer Tractors with Multi-Axle Trailers and other Advancements
CANADA… MTO has posted a series of proposals to the Regulatory Register to address technological advancements in vehicle equipment and components as well as further harmonizing Ontario’s weights and dimensions regime with neighbouring jurisdictions.
“OTA has worked in close consultation with MTO over the past several years in advocating for the use of smart lift axles on trailers and for longer tractors to be used with multi-axle semi-trailers. We are pleased that MTO is proposing to follow its plan to move these items from a permit system established earlier into regulation,” said Geoff Wood, OTA’s senior vice president, Policy.
Moving from a permit regime to regulation is a logical progression for smart lift axles and longer tractors and reduces the regulatory burden for carriers to adopt more efficient technology supported by industry.
MTO’s proposals continue to strike a balance between safety, productivity and the protection of infrastructure while accommodating technological advances in truck and trailer equipment technology.
“Having the ability to propose changes to regulations, back those proposals up with sound and effective research and business cases, while still working within the principles of SPIF shows MTO is listening and that they are open for business and committed to reducing red tape for compliant trucking operations,” continued Wood.
In addition to moving smart lift axles and longer tractors into regulation, the proposed amendments include: additional allowances for wide-base, single tires that aligns with recent updates to the national MoU (advocated by CTA), haulage of boats on stinger-steer auto carriers, longer saddlemount combinations and modifying existing SPIF provisions for the use of emergency in-cab lift-axle control for self-steering axles.
OTA will work with its membership over the coming weeks to review the details of the proposals and provide additional feedback to the Ministry.
OTA members interested in a detailed backgrounder document on the MTO proposals can email [email protected].
Class Counsel Announce $135 Million Proposed Class Action Settlement of Federal Navistar Diesel Engine EGR Emissions Defect Lawsuits
NEW YORK… Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, together with co- lead counsel DiCello Levitt Gutzler and Audet & Partners LLP and liaison counsel The Bellows Law Group announce that the parties in the In re Navistar MaxxForce Engines Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liabilities Litigation reached an agreement to settle the nationwide federal class action lawsuit relating to certain MaxxForce 11- or 13- liter diesel engines equipped with an allegedly defective EGR emissions system.
Plaintiffs filed the proposed settlement, under which Navistar International and Navistar, Inc. (NYSE: NAV) must pay out $135 million, with Judge Joan B. Gottschall of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois for her consideration and approval.
Lieff Cabraser partner Jonathan Selbin, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the action, commented, “After years of hard fought litigation we believe this settlement represents an outstanding result for class members. In particular, we are proud of the choices it provides class members, who can choose a ‘no questions asked’ cash payment of up to
$2500 per truck or $10,000 rebate off the best negotiated price of purchase of a new truck, or can prove up and recover out of pocket damages related to this defect of up to
$15,000 per truck.” He added: “We are also pleased Navistar stepped up to take care of its customers.”
Subject to certain exclusions, the proposed class will include all entities and natural persons who owned or leased a 2011-2014 model year vehicles equipped with a MaxxForce 11- or 13-liter engine certified to meet EPA 2010 emissions standards without selective catalytic reduction technology, provided that vehicle was purchased or leased in any of the fifty (50) States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and all other United States territories and/or possessions.
The proposed settlement must be approved by the Court. If the Court grants final approval, Class members will have six months to make their elections and file a claim.
Truckers Praise U.S. – Mexico Tariff Agreement
Arlington, VA… ATA urges Congress to now ratify USMCA.
American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear issued the following statement:
“Cross-border trade with Mexico supports 47,000 U.S. jobs in the trucking industry, so America’s truckers appreciate President Trump and Mexico avoiding tariffs and addressing the immigration crisis. Free, fair and equitable trade with Mexico is of critical importance to our industry, which moved $424 billion in goods across our southern border last year.
“I hope this positive step will pave the way for finalizing the USMCA trade agreement.”