From the editor of Truck News
Volume 1, Issue 23 Oct. 19, 2010

Welcome to Hooked Up, a bi-weekly industry newsletter that provides commentary and analysis on the news, equipment, management, maintenance and community issues that you care about – all in a quick-hit format.

NEWS...

REWARD RAISED: The Canadian Trucking Alliance has upped the ante for information leading to the arrest of those involved in the beating of 67-year-old professional driver Alex Fraser. The CTA has matched the BCTA reward of $10,000, bringing the total to $20,000. Remember, Crime Stoppers itself offers a reward of $2,000 – although it appears you must report directly to the RCMP to qualify for the BCTA/CTA award. The North American Truckers Guild in B.C. has set up a reward fund as well. They say it was their idea in the first place. They’ve raised over $3,500. If the reward isn’t collected in one year, the funds collected by the NATG will go to Alex himself. The BCTA has also said it will donate excess funds to Alex to help ease his transition to an unplanned retirement.

The much-publicized beatdown of Alex Fraser on the side of a B.C. highway as he pulled over to help a stranded motorist seems almost too outrageous to believe. But by all accounts from those who know him, he is an upstanding citizen. With over $25K now up for grabs, maybe one of the three attackers will turn on the others. With not so much as a description of the attackers, that’s the best that can be hoped for. To donate to the BCTA fundraising campaign, fill out the form found at BCTA’s Web site. If you’d rather donate to the Truckers Guild fund, visit their Web site but be forewarned, they won’t be able to issue a tax receipt.

 

ANOTHER TRUCKER ATTACK: Meanwhile in Edmonton, the Sun reported on a 52-year-old truck driver who was brutally attacked by trucker-thugs at a local truck wash. His leg was broken with a metal pipe and he’ll be out of work for several months. The family is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. If this keeps up, I just may hit the road and become a bounty hunter. In all seriousness though, I hope all the aforementioned trucker-attackers are brought to justice.

 

PARKING PROBLEMS IMPROVING?: I’ve been hard on the province of Ontario for its handling of the so-called revitalization of its 23 provincially-owned service centres – and for good reason. The timing of the reconstruction was poorly handled, causing the much-needed parking areas being closed en-masse. However, there’s finally some good news to report. The truck parking spots at West Lorne have indeed been repainted, as you can see by the picture provided by reader Guy Broderick, who’s also an OTA Road Knight and a true professional with APPS. He indicates the spaces are wider now and easier to back into, but of course there are fewer of them. (And for Guy, ‘easy to back into’ is relative; he’s had the unenviable task of blindside backing a 53-footer into a narrow alley off Harbord St. in downtown Toronto during morning rush hour and he pulled it off effortlessly).

Also on the positive side, by all accounts, the service centre at Trenton is well done, with ample truck parking. Maybe there’s hope yet. The first seven of these redesigned service centres were fully opened Oct. 1. For updates, check out www.onroute.ca, which also appears to have been completely revamped in recent weeks.

 

LCVs CONTINUE TO SHINE: Year two of Ontario’s long combination vehicle (LCV) pilot project is almost in the books (winter shutdown begins at the end of November), and the safety performance of these units continues to impress. The latest figures I’ve gotten my hands on from the MTO show there have been 78 permits issued to 39 carriers, indicating the pilot is surprisingly operating below its capacity of 100 permits and 50 carriers. More than 60 LCV trips a day are being run along the Windsor-GTA-Quebec corridor and to date, there have been more than 16,800 trips totaling more than 5.3 million kilometres – and still no accidents. The MTO says it has uncovered a few minor infractions, such as operating in the GTA during the blackout period, but those incidences have been addressed by the carriers.

As a result of this impeccable safety record, there has been virtually no public outcry. I encounter these LCVs nearly every day and they seem to have been seamlessly integrated into 401 traffic flow during non-peak travel times. Still, the province remains non-committal about the future use of LCVs in Ontario. Spokesman Bob Nichols told me “Over the course of the winter shutdown, MTO will be reviewing this program and conducting a comprehensive analysis in order to determine our next steps.”

 

SHOW ME THE CARROT: New reward programs are being rolled out for safe operators in B.C. and Quebec. In B.C., the Premium Carrier Program will provide public recognition, the use of an official watermark and scale bypass opportunities for fleets of 20 trucks or more that meet certain safety benchmarks. The program will be rolled out to smaller fleets in the future. For info, click here.

And in Quebec, our intrepid reporter Carroll McCormick says there’s a new program coming Jan. 1, 2011 that will reward safe drivers and punish not-so-safe drivers. Quebec-based operators will be able to apply for a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum designation via the SAAQ Web site. They won’t have any tangible benefits to show for it, but such designations could help when job hunting or sourcing new business. For a full report on this program, check out the November issue of Truck News.

EQUIPMENT...

A MILLION X ONES: Last time out, I mentioned I had been to Greenville, S.C., where Michelin was celebrating the production of its one millionth X One wide-base tire. These tires have truly burst into the mainstream. Some of the early adopters were on-hand for the occasion. Bruce Stockton of Con-way Truckload said the fleet runs X Ones on the drive positions of every one of its tractors today and that by 2011, 100% of its trailers will ride on wide tires. “It’ll be a 10-wheeler instead of an 18-wheeler and someone will have to write a new song about that,” he said.

From closer to home, Robert Transport and Challenger Motor Freight were represented at the event as early Canadian adopters. Challenger recently bought 600 Stoughton trailers all fitted with X Ones and CEO Dan Einwechter said he’s thinking of converting the company’s waste division equipment as well, including its new seven-axle trailers. “These tires ride higher in the landfill than duals, so we think there’s great promise there,” he said.


THAT’S CLUTCH:
Eaton has revamped its line of heavy-duty manual clutches, consolidating parts numbers and extending warranty coverage and service intervals. The new clutch family is called the Advantage Series, and includes the self-adjusting Eaton Solo Advantage and the manually-adjusted Eaton Easy Pedal Advantage. In a conference call last week, the company said a more efficient grease reservoir allows it to double service intervals from 25,000 miles to 50,000 in linehaul applications. They come with a new two-year, unlimited mileage aftermarket warranty – up from one year previously.

MILESTONES...

THANKS A MILLION: I want to take a second to recognize professional driver Chris Nechka of Alberta for successfully running a million safe miles over 19 years, delivering propane to destinations throughout western Canada, including residences, oilfield, provincial parks and Indian reservations. He runs a tandem-drive Western Star in often congested areas for Cal-Gas. His million mile achievement came and went without a lot of fanfare, so his wife Tina asked if we would give him a shout-out. Congratulations, Chris. A million safe miles is something to be proud of, especially when you’re pulling hazardous materials to tricky destinations. Well done!

COMMUNITY...

18 WHEELS OF CHRISTMAS: The 18 Wheels of Christmas campaign is back on track for its eighth year. I was living in Calgary when Dale and Colleen from Rosenau Transport came up with the idea to encourage transportation companies to collect food for local food banks and have watched ever since as this program has grown and evolved. Rosenau Transport donates a specially designed trailer that travels the province collecting the donations, makes appearances at special events and finally makes the all-important deliveries to local food banks, just in time for Christmas.

The program has grown exponentially since that first year and has expanded its reach into B.C. and Saskatchewan. In fact, this year Rosenau has donated a second 53-ft. trailer for Saskatchewan collections alone, with efforts in that province being spearheaded by Tim Rosenau. The 18 Wheels of Christmas campaign gets an enormous amount of mainstream media attention (one radio personality even offers to live in the trailer for five days or until it is filled), which is a great reflection on the trucking industry. If you’re in Western Canada and would like to participate, it’s simple. Just put out a box and encourage staff and customers to contribute. Then, contact Dale, Colleen or Shirley at 403-279-4204 or by e-mail to arrange a pick-up.

WORTH REPEATING: Last time out, Rob Newell of Greatwide Logistics commented on why it’s a great time to be an owner/operator. Well, how does an owner/operator himself respond to that very same question? Here’s what Howard Brouwer, the 2010 Truck News Owner/Operator of the Year had to say when I caught up with him at the World’s Largest Truck Convoy for Special Olympics:

“I think it’s a great time to be an owner/operator. I think things are really going to start picking up. Not fast, but there’s going to be a slow, steady climb and for anybody who is in a good financial position and made it through and has little personal debt, I think now’s a great time to be an owner/operator.”

It’s nice to hear optimism returning as the economy continues its slow climb back.

A LOOK AHEAD: Hooked Up will be back in two weeks with more industry news, business tips and colourful quotes from Canadian trucking industry insiders, including a report Mack fans won’t want to miss.

- James Menzies is a purveyor of information and editor of Truck News and Truck West magazines. Hooked Up is designed to serve as an information bridge connecting some of the best-informed fleet executives, maintenance managers and professional drivers with the Canadian trucking industry at large. James can be reached at jmenzies@trucknews.com or 416-510-6896. You can also follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JamesMenzies.

USED EQUIPMENT FOR SALE...

Are you in the market for a used truck or trailer? Each month, Hooked Up will feature some used equipment for sale. Please check out this month’s listings to see if you can provide a good home
for any of the featured trucks and trailers To advertise a truck or trailer, contact Kathy Penner at
416-510-6892 or e-mail kpenner@trucknews.com.

 

Action Trailer Sales

14 – 2002 Trailmobile 53' Reefers
TK SBIII units, 100 gal. tank, overhead rear door, h/d flat aluminum floor, 2 rows recessed “E” track, 6 int. lights, curb and road side (62” width) doors, 16” scuff liner, h/d side posts on 12” C/L, s/s radius corners/rear door case, Hend. A/R. Toronto and Montreal.

www.actiontrailersales.com

Dependable Tank

2002 Sterling
c/w 20,000 litre 4 compartment aluminum tank, dual pumping and metering equipment, bottom loading, vapor recovery, DOT certified and CSA-B620. Stock #T644.

www.dependable.ca

Glasvan Great Dane

5 – 2006 Transcraft 53' Roll Tite Flats
53’, T/A w/ front axle slide, steel/aluminum combo, alum. wheels, alum. floor w/nailing strips and chain tie downs, Aero Kit Sliding tarp kit w/swing rear doors. Haul both van or flatdeck loads in these!!!

www.glasvangreatdane.com

Morgan's Diesel Truck Parts

1998 Reitnouer Aluminum Flatbed w/tarp kit.

www.morgan-diesel.com

Sheehan’s Truck Centre Inc.

(15) 2007 Volvo VNL64T-630's and 670's
450 hp Cummins ISX, Jake, 13 spd. Std. and 13 spd. Auto's, 40 rears, air ride, nice clean units, fleet maintained with only 516,000 to 747,000 kms. all with warranty. From $44,950. ea.

www.heavytrux.com

Tankmart International

2007 Remtec
50,000L 1 compt. TC-406 alum. petro. quad, vapour recovery, bottom loading, curbside discharge line, alum wheels, very good rubber, excellent methanol/ethanol tank, new safety and B-620. Unit 007. Hurry!

www.tankmart.com

Trailers Canada

2009 Stoughton
53' x 102" Tandem, Air Ride, Logistic Post, Insulated Heater Van with Thermo King HK III HO (only 233 hrs).

www.trailerscanada.com

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