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WASHINGTON — The Americans for Modern Transportation Coalition is continuing its effort to allow twin 33-foot trailers on the nation’s highways.

The standard for tandems currently is twin 28-foot trailers.

In a letter to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and ranking member Sam Graves, D-Mo., the coalition identified longer trailers as a way policymakers can leverage technologies and efficiencies developed by the private sector to create “the infrastructure system of the future.”

In the letter, coalition Executive Director Randy Mullett said years of underinvestment and a lack of attention to the nation’s infrastructure has left American families in harm’s way, spurred economic inefficiencies, and put undue stress on the environment.

“At no cost to taxpayers, Congress can act to modernize trucking equipment and increase the national twin trailer standard from 28 feet to 33 feet,” Mullett said.

He listed what he called “immediate and meaningful improvements,” such as:

  • Reduced congestion because gains from twin 33-foot trailers would mean fewer trucks on the road and 53.2 million hours saved due to less congestion
  • Improved safety because twin 33s “perform better than many other truck configurations on four critical safety measures, including stability and rollover.” Research shows that the adoption of twin 33-foot trailers would result in 4,500 fewer truck accidents annually, Mullett maintains.
  • Economic benefits because 33-foot trailers can move the same amount of freight with 18 percent fewer truck trips, allowing consumers and businesses to realize $2.6 billion annually in lower shipping costs and quicker delivery times
  • Longer life cycles for roads and bridges because use of the longer trailers would result in 3.1 billion fewer truck miles traveled each year, and
  • Environmental gains because these trailers would equate to 255 million fewer gallons of fuel and 2.9 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions.

“The private sector continues to make investments in our workforce, new technologies, and existing equipment to ensure that our fleets are as efficient, sustainable, and safe as possible,” Mullett wrote.

“We need the same forward-looking effort from our partners in federal, state and local governments so that all Americans have access to the full promise enabled by a modern transportation system. We look forward to working with the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to seize this opportunity to usher the country into a new era of safety and infrastructure investment.”

Among the members of the coalition are FedEx and UPS, two companies that have vigorously fought to get Congressional approval of the longer trailers.

However, twin 33s continue to have their detractors, among the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) being among them.

“Advocating for a vehicle configuration that only benefits a small segment of the trucking industry would only exacerbate current industry problems such as truck parking, the driver shortage and overall vehicle safety,” said TCA vice president of government affairs David Heller in response to the coalition’s letter.

“Distracting from the much larger congressional conversation of infrastructure reform, which would correct the shortfall of funding to the Highway Trust Fund and repair our deteriorating roads and bridges, would be irresponsible of an industry that is clamoring for a fix.  Constructive conversations regarding productivity should center around the growing issue of detention time, that in a new world of ELDs, has proven itself to be a data-proven problem with a solution that may actually make a difference on many issues that impede the productive delivery of this nation’s freight.

“TCA will continue to support a position of no changes to truck size or weight,” Heller said.

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Michigan CAT first to receive WABCO Service Partner certification

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Officials and employees at Michigan CAT celebrate becoming WABCO Holdings’ first WABCO Service Partner. (Courtesy: WABCO HOLDINGS)

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — WABCO Holdings, a global supplier of braking control systems and other advanced technologies designed to improve the safety, efficiency and connectivity of commercial vehicles, Thursday said it has launched the WABCO Service Partner (WSP) program in North America.

Through this initiative, the company will certify vehicle service facilities that meet WABCO’s stringent technical and safety standards in the maintenance and repair of commercial vehicles. This launch represents an enhancement to the company’s aftermarket support offering, which was introduced at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) earlier this year.

The WSP program creates a network of certified service facilities that have undergone specialized training by WABCO technical experts to attain extensive knowledge of the company’s products and services. Certified WSPs provide service, repair or replacement of WABCO’s suite of products for trucks, trailers, off-road equipment and other vehicles including buses and RVs.

“To become a WABCO Service Partner, a facility must excel in all areas of training and safety standards and be a proven industry leader in the work they do,” said Abe Aon, business leader, North America aftersales, service, support. “Customers can rest assured that if service is done by a WSP, it is done by a highly trained, WABCO-endorsed provider.”

Aon said the WSP program’s goal is to increase uptime for its customers, getting them back on the road as quickly as possible, and providing peace of mind that the service was done by a certified facility. All WSPs have access to WABCO Customer Care Center and expedited warranty claims handling to provide customers with quick and reliable service.

Michigan CAT, based in Novi, Michigan, is the first U.S.-based WSP in North America under this new program.

Michigan CAT is a unit of the MacAllister Machinery Co. of Indianapolis. Both companies are Caterpillar Inc. dealers. Michigan CAT has operations in eight Michigan cities and specializes in selling and servicing construction, off-highway and agricultural equipment, used trucks and trailers and fleet management solutions.

“We are pleased to welcome Michigan CAT as our first WABCO Service Partner,” said Aon. “By combining their commitment to service with their in-depth knowledge of WABCO products and services, Michigan CAT ensures a first-rate customer experience and the relationship will be excellent for us for the long term.”

WABCO expects to soon finalize the certification of two additional service providers and has begun accepting applications for additional shops that meet WABCO’s requirements to join the growing network. The goal is to expand the program to include more than 100 new WSPs by the end of 2020. WABCO currently has over 3,100 WSPs globally, with the highest concentration in Europe.

 

 

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Jacobs Vehicle Systems delivers 8 millionth engine brake

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İn the late 1980s trucking industry interest in the product began to increase significantly and a shift was made to OEM factory installations. (Courtesy: JACOBS BRAKE SYSTEMS)

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. — Jacobs Vehicle Systems, a worldwide manufacturer of heavy-duty diesel engine retarding systems and valve actuation systems, recently celebrated the delivery of its 8 millionth engine brake.

This milestone delivery comes less than two years after Jacobs shipped its seven millionth brake, and nearly 60 years after the company’s first engine brake, invented by Clessie Cummins, was introduced to the trucking industry by Jacobs.

Since the first engine brake was produced, it took Jacobs 31 years to sell its first million engine brakes, which was initially an aftermarket product and sold exclusively in North America.

İn the late 1980s trucking industry interest in the product began to increase significantly and a shift was made to OEM factory installations, according to Steve Ernest, vice president, engineering and business development, who said geographic expansion soon followed and today Jacobs is selling and delivering engine brakes from its locations in North America, China, and Europe to more than 30 customers with locations in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, and South America.

“This delivery is a fantastic achievement and is a testament to the success our customers have enjoyed around the world with Jacobs’ components,” Ernest said. “The next millionth brake shouldn’t be far off as we continue to find new solutions and technologies that will not only continue to enhance braking performance but also help our customers find new and effective ways to improve fuel consumption and reduce harmful emissions.”

Jacobs Vehicle Systems is headquartered in Bloomfield, Connecticut where is has a design, testing, and manufacturing facility, with support sites in Europe, Japan, and India as well as manufacturing facilities in Suzhou, China, and Brno, Czech Republic.

For more information, visit www.jakebrake.com

 

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FTR reports prelim September trailer orders highest since February

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Trailer production should remain sturdy in September but somewhat off recent months with backlogs expected to drop for the ninth consecutive month, FTR said. (Courtesy: GREAT DANE)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — FTR is reporting preliminary trailer orders for September at 19,000 units, the highest since February.

Trailer order activity rebounded from the recent doldrums as some fleets began placing orders for 2020.  Orders were up 81% month-over-month but minus 66% year-over-year. September’s net orders could have been even higher but were negatively affected by fleet cancellations of excess 2019 orders.

Trailer production should remain sturdy in September but somewhat off recent months with backlogs expected to drop for the ninth consecutive month, FTR said, noting that trailer orders for the past 12 months now total 264,000 units.

“This is a decent order amount for September. It indicates fleets are somewhat optimistic about 2020,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. Orders should rise to healthy levels in October, as more large fleets place their 2020 orders. The increase in September orders signals the trailer market is becoming much more stable and should be settling into historic order patterns, after a turbulent couple of years.

“Trailer sales are expected to dip in 2020 after hitting record volumes in 2019. However, the forecast is still for a solid year based on moderate economic and freight growth, which should provide fleets with enough profits to buy new equipment.”

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