John G Smith

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

John G Smith

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Pirelli announces plans for commercial tires

LOUISVILLE, KY -- Pirelli, a tire maker that many North Americans equate with Formula 1 or Superbike racing circuits, has announced plans to launch commercial tires in North America. "We're coming. We're testing," says Clif Armstrong, who has been named president of the company's newly formed TP Commercial Solutions. The products are to be manufactured in Brazil and available for Class 6-8 applications, with selected sizes available for Class 5 vehicles. One thing that sets this announcement apart from traditional rollouts, however, is the lack of tires. They are not yet available through a tire dealer near you. But 40 North American fleets are involved in testing 1,800 tires in on/off-road and linehaul applications. Armstrong himself spent time in Montreal working on some of the tests. The final results for steer and drive tires in the on/off-road segment are expected in 60 days, meaning production could begin by September. Tests of the 225 linehaul tires will take eight to 12 months. And Armstrong says there is no rush: "We're going to do this the right tire at the right time." The announcement still deserves to be taken seriously. Pirelli makes 5 million commercial tires per year for markets including Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, using production facilities established in Brazil, China, Egypt and Turkey. Armstrong is familiar with the North American market, having held senior roles with Continental Tire.

Road Trip: Volvo’s Canadian dealers in Hagerstown

Volvo's Canadian dealers are celebrating. Goran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North America, noted that the company's retail share in Canada hit 16.3% in 2014, complete with 54% of the sleepers that have 10-13-litre engines. Employees responded to numbers like that with chants of "all time high". And today they represent the first wave of North American dealers to learn about several powertrain enhancements available to buyers in 2017.

Impaired charges dropped in Skyway-closing crash

HAMILTON, ON -- A Brampton, Ontario truck driver who was involved in a collision that closed Ontario's Burlington Skyway for four days in 2014 has been acquitted of impaired driving charges. Sukhvinder Singh Rai registered almost triple the legal limit of alcohol that day - after his trailer's raised dump body slammed into the bridge structure -- but Judge Fred Campling ruled the test results were inadmissible because they were collected too long after the crash, local media report.

For-hire fleets hauled 745.5 million tonnes in 2014

Canada's for-hire trucking operations hauled 745.5 million tonnes of freight in 2014, up 7.9% over 2013, Statistics Canada reported today. The related revenue was up 14.8%, reaching 14 cents per tonne-kilometre, while domestic freight generated 16 cents per tonne-kilometre. Most of the weight (86.2%) involved domestic shipments, which rose 8.3% in the year. General freight led the way in Ontario and Quebec, while petroleum was the driving force in Alberta. General freight and motor vehicle parts accounted for most of the cross-border shipments by weight.

OBIT: Pat Sheehan, Volvo dealership founder

BURLINGTON, ON - Pat Sheehan, who owned and operated a Volvo truck dealership that bears his family name, has died of cancer. He was 75. Sheehan emigrated to Canada in 1965 and began work as a long-haul truck driver before switching to heavy truck sales. In 1989, he and his wife Gayle opened a used truck lot, and two years later they secured a Volvo franchise. Sheehan's Truck Centre moved to Harvester Road in Burlington, ON in 1996. The funeral will be held in the community's St. Gabriel's Church on March 17 -- St. Patrick's Day. The family patriarch retired in 1999, when control of the business shifted to their daughter, Kelly, and son, Dennis.