Well, the weather in Florida is gradually becoming more Florida-like and I think we’ve finally hit the 70s. The news here has also gotten hotter. Two significant announcements have come out of TMC thus far.
Firstly, Volvo announced it will cost about US$7,500 more for a Class 8 tractor in 2007. I had the chance to sit down with Mack president and CEO Paul Vikner yesterday morning and he agreed that the number Volvo threw out there is reasonable. It’s important to remember that it’s not only the cost of the engine that is reflected in that increased purchase price, but also the changes that must be made to the chassis to accommodate the new engines. The good news is – the engines should be fuel-neutral. Of course, much of that depends on application, and more information about that will be available in the April issue of Truck News.
The other major news announced at TMC is that the American Trucking Associations is launching its own speed limiter campaign – one that would see truck speeds mechanically limited to 109 km/h (68 mph) right across the U.S.
There were plenty of critics – myself included – that suggested U.S. carriers would never comply with the OTA’s plan to mechanically limit truck speeds in Ontario. Now, with the ATA launching a similar initiative, things are about to get very interesting.
Having said that, a report down here in the U.S. suggests that American carriers serving Ontario are concerned about the OTA’s proposal to limit truck speeds.
Bill Joyce, president of the New York State Motor Truck Association, told Transport Topics that U.S carriers serving Ontario “will have to pay a repair shop to have the (governor) microchip recalibrated to comply with the rule and have the chip recalibrated again when they cross back into the United States so they can drive the allowed speed limit on roads here.”
I’m not sure that’s true, as I saw a Cummins rep demonstrate how to adjust the governor first-hand and it was a pretty simple process. It took less time than it would take to order a coffee and all he needed was a handheld palm-pilot. But I’m confused as to why the ATA and OTA wouldn’t come up with a common proposal and launch it in unison? Why 105km/h versus 109 km/h and why November versus February? Harmonizing these two policies would have gone a long way towards bringing government onside – but then again, from what most of you are saying, it’s just as well it didn’t happen that way. It will be very interesting to see what driver reaction is from south of the border. Those of you who drive down there can respond to this blog entry and let us know what you think.
The ATA announcement certainly adds a new dynamic to the debate and it will be very interesting to see how it plays out.
A full report about these latest developments will be available in the April issue of Truck News – and we fully expect to have a decision from the Ontario MoT by that time as well.
See ya at the next stop,
James Menzies is editor of Truck News and Truck West magazines. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies