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What the Heck is the Walmart Supercube

Walmart Canada’s controversial supercube configuration, consisting of a cabover tractor with dromedary box pulling a 60.5-ft. drop-deck semi-trailer will operate under revised permit conditions that reflect the concerns raised by the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA).

The 18-month trial will allow five qualified carriers to operate the new configurations, with each receiving four permits.

The OTA had voiced concerns about the initial permit conditions, which seemed to grant the permits to Walmart itself rather than the CVOR-holding carrier that would operate the equipment. The association says the revised permit conditions “reflect most of the recommendations put forward by OTA in recent weeks.”

“While for the most part the trucking industry would prefer to not have to deal with the whole question of extended length trailers, the association’s long-standing position is that it will not stand in the way of changes to Ontario’s truck weights and dimensions standards that would enhance the productivity of the industry, its customers or the provincial economy at large — so long as the proposed vehicles maintain or enhance highway/road safety; meet or exceed provincial dynamic performance standards; produce environmental benefits such as reduced GHG emissions; and allow for a sufficient return on investment,” said OTA president David Bradley. “In addition, OTA has also long held that only carriers with acceptable safety records – those who are prepared to ensure the safety of their fleets and their drivers – should have access to such special permits.”

Revisions to the permit conditions include:

* Stricter conditions, requiring the carrier to have been in the trucking business for at least five years and to hold a minimum of $5 million in liability insurance;

* Increased qualification requirements for drivers, to account for the configuration’s “swing-out” characteristics. Drivers will need to have five years of provable tractor-trailer driving experience and will require additional training;

* Specified origins and destinations.


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Ray Simon in YRC Freight Hall of Fame

Safe driving places man in YRC Freight Hall of Fame

After 39 years of trucking and more than a million accident-free miles, St. Cloud resident Ray Simon has been honored with an induction into the 2012 YRC Freight Hall of Fame.

Simon, along with eight other drivers from across the country, was chosen as part of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, which was Sept. 16-22.

Simon is no stranger to accolades. He is the only driver in history to win the American Trucking Association’s Grand National Championship three times.

He gives  credit to his mentor Charlie Smith, who worked with him at Yellow Freight Systems and helped him prepare for state and national competitions.

Simon also looks to his brother Bill as a great example of someone who represents the industry as a true professional.

Although Simon retired from active trucking in 2006, he remains involved in the industry. He is a driving instructor at St. Cloud Technical & Community College, volunteers at ATA competitions as a judge and mentor, and recently restored an International CO9670 tractor.

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Chicago 23 New Food Truck Stations

Chicago’s 23 Food Truck Stations A Good Start

If all goes according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan, Chicago’s  food trucks will have 23 new designated stations  from which to operate.  Obviously, because the food trucks have been a polarizing — albeit, mostly  one-way — issue for politicians and brick-and-mortar restaurateurs, it would be  impossible to distribute these spots in a diplomatic manner that would please  everyone.

That said, even objectively, their distribution seems a  little queer.

For instance, there are about eight between Wicker Park and  Ukrainian Village, but only three in the Loop. If you’re not up on your  neighborhoods, that means residential areas with low foot traffic during peak  lunching and munching hours are getting double the food-truck access than areas  packed with employee populations. Also, the farthest south they would go — again, if these proposed locations are approved — is 437 S. Columbus Dr. So, if  you’re working in Bronzeville or one of the hospitals further south, you just  can’t eat from a food truck.

“I would have liked to have seen a few more designated stands  on the South Side and some on the West Side, but this is a step in the right  direction,” said Stephanie D. Neely,   Chicago city treasurer. “Food trucks are  small businesses too, they should be everywhere and they help grow the city’s  reputation as a real foodie town.”

It would be easy to speculate about why these spots have  fallen where they have, like how they might have had to contend with existing  contracts with franchisers, for example. But this is still, at least, a start  and gets Chicago a seat at the table with other cities that have long enjoyed  the controversial luxury of walking down the street, seeing a truck and enjoying  food you purchased from it.

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How to Start a Trucking Company Video

How to Start a Trucking Company

Danube Decay Hinders Rhine to Leave Shippers Blue

Danube Decay Hinders Rhine Link to Leave Shippers Blue – Freight

European Union plans for a trade artery between the Black and North seas have stalled as an upgrade of the Danube waterway is held up by spats over funding, the environment and immigration, delaying work that would reduce transport costs for companies spanning BASF SE (BAS) to Ford Motor Co. (F).

The bickering has stymied moves to upgrade infrastructure and reverse a drop in water levels in the lower Danube, while comments from right-leaning Dutch politicians have upset plans for Rotterdam port to help modernize Romania’s biggest harbor.

Goods volumes on Europe’s longest river after the Volga are 80 percent lower than on the Rhine, the region’s busiest waterway, according to EU figures. About 45 million metric tons of cargo was transported last year, half the total moved before the disintegration of the Soviet bloc, said Manfred Seitz, director of Vienna-based lobby group Pro Danube International.

“Businesses are desperate,” said Karin de Schepper, general secretary at Inland Navigation Europe in Brussels, which promotes waterborne trade. “They’d like to use the Danube but they can’t so they’re looking at alternatives.”

Rising in the Black Forest in western Germany, the Danube– dubbed “blue” by Viennese composer Johann Strauss in his 1866 waltz — flows for more than 1,750 miles (2,800 kilometers) through 10 European countries. Its catchment area covers one-fifth of the EU and has a population in excess of 100 million.

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Chicago Food Truck Stand Locations

City announces proposed food truck stand locations

Food trucks may soon find special parking spots near City Hall, NBC Tower, Harold Washington College, Buckingham Fountain and Lincoln Park Zoo, among other high-traffic locations in Chicago.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday presented the City Council with a list of 23 proposed sites for “food truck stands,” or loading-zone-like spots where at least two food trucks may legally park for two hours at a time and serve food.

A new mobile food ordinance that passed in July allowed trucks to cook food on board but reinforced restrictions on doing business within 200 feet of a food-service establishment. The stands would be an exception to that rule.

Amy Le, co-founder of the Illinois Food Truck Association, said it “sounds incredible” that proposed locations include spots in the financial district, around State and Lake streets and near City Hall.

“Those are really ideal spots (in) areas where it’s typically been difficult to get parking,” she said.

Food truck stands are proposed in Lakeview, Lincoln Park, West Town, the Loop, the Near North Side and the Gold Coast, neighborhoods chosen for a “high density” that would make legal parking harder.

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Schneider Opens Intermodal Training Academy

Schneider National Opens Doors to Second Intermodal Training Academy

Schneider National recently opened its second U.S. Intermodal Training Academy.
Located outside Los Angeles, Schneider’s Intermodal Training Academy will provide experienced new hires the focused, hands-on training they need to be successful and safe in the rapidly growing area of intermodal transportation.

Schneider opened its first Intermodal Training Academy in Chicago earlier this year. Each new hire in Schneider’s Intermodal division completes a four-day curriculum, which includes classroom instruction, a rail yard tour and in-truck, scenario-based training with an instructor that includes both highway and rail yard driving environments.

To help ease the job transition, Schneider Intermodal driver associates who participate in the new training program will receive $400 in training and orientation pay.

Located at Schneider National’s Los Angeles Intermodal office, the Intermodal Training Academy provides technical working areas and classrooms equipped with simulators for hands-on training with two full-time instructors.

Driver Quintin Scales had zero experience in Intermodal and only one year of prior truck driving experience before he enrolled at Schneider’s Chicago Intermodal Training Academy earlier this year.

“I was nervous at first and assumed I’d be behind,” said Scales. “But the teachers were very helpful and I loved that the preparation catered to people with various learning styles; the program incorporated CBT [computer-based training], video, classroom instruction and over-the-road with a training engineer.”

In addition to his role as an intermodal driver, Scales also now trains students as a certified training engineer.

Schneider will continue to provide over-the-road training for experienced drivers and driving school graduates in its other divisions in addition to the new specialized Intermodal training.

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Falling freight rate puts Asian shipping into problems

Falling freight rate puts Asian shipping in disarray

A falling freight rate due to an ongoing slowdown in Europe has put shipping trade in disarray across Asia including Bangladesh, which has a tiny fleet of private and state-owned merchant vessels engaged in international trade, industry sources said on Friday.

The freight rate has been falling over the past several years when costs for bunkering, port dues, wages for crew etc have been rising up putting the shipping industry in dire straits.

“A slowdown in Europe has reduced imports to the continent drastically, putting the shipping companies in Asia in disarray,” Syed Amirul Haque, managing director of the Chittagong-based Seacom Shipping Lines Limited, told the FE.

“There is no chance of improvement unless Europe rebounds,” Mr Haque, a former director of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said.

The Baltic Dry Index (BDI), that scales freight rates, was 744 on Friday against 1100 on average in 2008. BDI is issued daily by the London-based Baltic Exchange, that makes “assessment of the price of moving the major raw materials by sea”.

With the fall in freight charge, rising costs of other expenses including port dues, expenses of shipping agents, crew wages etc, are also compelling the ship owners to switch over to other business abandoning ships, industry sources said.

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Truck deals boost September U.S. auto sales

Truck deals, pent-up demand boost September U.S. auto sales

As reported in the Chicago Tribune, U.S. auto sales will likely rise 8 percent or more in September as dealers offered generous cash incentives on pickup trucks that amounted to as much as $10,000 a vehicle in some areas of the United States, analysts said.

The annual sales rate is expected to be around 14.5 million in September, according to a Reuters poll. That would mark the fourth straight month the sales rate has held above 14 million, buoyed by pent-up demand and attractive credit terms.

Automakers, led by General Motors Co , are offering the cash incentives to help sell down excess truck inventory at a time when truck sales typically accelerate, analysts said.

Truck demand been slightly weaker than usual this year, due in part to high gasoline prices that have stayed near $4 a gallon this year, Kelley Blue Book analyst Alec Gutierrez said.

“There are some pretty sizable incentives out there,” he said. “All the manufacturers overestimated the strength of the truck market this year and probably overproduced.”

Analysts were quick to point out that the incentives are not large enough to signal a return to Detroit’s historic pattern of offering steep discounts to meet outsized sales targets.

In fact, incentive spending overall fell 6.7 percent this month as cars and crossovers commanded higher prices, auto research firm said.

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Trucking School Robbed

Trucking school robbed of $10,000 and manager tied up

The manager of a tractor-trailer driving school was tied to a chair after being forced at gunpoint to open the school’s safe where $10,000 in cash was stolen along with some personal checks.

Police are now looking for the armed robber described as a man in the 20s or 30s wearing sunglasses, Yankees baseball cap, black shirt and jeans.

Around 8:45 a.m. Wednesday, police received a call about a robbery at the Smith & Solomon tractor-trailer driving school at 1701 Lower Road, according to police Lt. James Sarnicki.

Police said a secretary reported she found her boss the school manager, a 36-year-old man, tied to a chair in the office area.

When police arrived, the manager said he had been tied up for about 15 minutes. The manager said he was in the office alone when a man entered and pulled out a handgun and told him to open up the two office safes. The armed robber removed about $10,000 in cash along with personal checks.

The robber then tied the manager to a chair and fled on foot. Police said there may have been a vehicle nearby and police are unsure if the man had an accomplice. The manager was not injured.

Police said there was no video of the business. Although there were other people working in other parts of the school, the manager was alone and the only one who saw he robber.

The armed robbery is under investigation by detectives.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Linden Police Department Detective Bureau at 908-474-8537.

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