Special: How New U.S. Trucking Proposals Affect You

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Lawmakers with the federal government in the U.S. are hard at work, or so they like to claim, putting together legislation to fund road and bridge building and repair projects. While roads and bridges are important in themselves, the legislation is starting to hit every aspect of your industry; it's as expansive as it is expensive. Whether or not you pull in the U.S., this massive legislative exercise will have an affect on the way you do business. As goes the American transportation industry, so goes ours. These elected members of both the House and Senate, of which there are 435 and 100 voting, respectively, are working to beat an end of the month deadline before current highway funding expires, including figuring out where the money will come from and if they will pass a short-term funding patch or a longer one covering several years. While the issued is far from settled, it is clear trucking interests and issues are getting some attention from Congress, with lawmakers offering up proposals that include everything but the kitchen sink.

Canada Benefiting from U.S. Port Congestion

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congestion at U.S. ports is providing cargo interests with additional incentives to use ports in Canada and Mexico, according to a member of the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission, and that is likely benefiting Canadian truckers, at least somewhat. According to the Journal of Commerce, FMC Commissioner Richard Lidinsky talked about the issue at a recent meeting of the FMC as part of an update of a 2012 report that examined whether the U.S. harbor maintenance tax was causing diversions of cargo from U.S. ports. The tax is collected on U.S. imports to help pay for the cost of maintaining port facilities. Three years after the first report, "we have seen that shippers are not going to stop diverting cargo through Canadian ports, and that Mexican ports continue to present another option for those individual shippers looking for alternative routes," Lidinsky said.

Navistar Becomes Third Truck Maker to Skip MATS 2016

LOUISVILLE, KY -- Navistar has become the third truck maker to pull out of the Mid-American trucking show next year, but plans to return in 2017. The decision follow moves by rivals Daimler Trucks North America and Volvo Trucks to skip the annual gathering held in March since 1972 at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville, KY, accordign to Truckinginfo.com. "We've made the decision to not attend the 2016 Mid-America Trucking Show," said Navistar spokesman Steve Schrier. "We look forward to returning to the Mid-America Trucking Show in 2017 to showcase our technology and products." MATS is regarded as the largest trucking show in the U.S., this year seeing record attendance of nearly 82,000 people along with having more than 1,000 exhibitors filling 1.2 million feet of exhibit space. Toby Young with Exhibit Management Associates, which puts on the show, told Truckinginfo, "Navistar has been a strong supporter of MATS, participating every year since the first MATS in 1972. Their presence at the 2016 show will be missed. We will continue as planned with sales for the 2016 MATS beginning on July 15 and, given the recent news, additional exhibit space opportunities for returning and new exhibitors."

U.S. Proposes Changes to Major Truck Safety Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Changes are in the works in the U.S. when it comes to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) key truck safety program. The agency announced on Monday it is proposing enhancements to its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, including changing some intervention thresholds to better reflect crash risk."These enhancements to SMS allow us to sharpen our focus on carriers with high crash rates, more effectively identify driver safety problems and hazardous materials carriers with serious safety problems, and more accurately account for carriers that are driving on our roads the most," the agency said on its website. These proposed changes are based on results from the agency testing and input from industry, enforcement, and other safety stakeholders. The proposed SMS enhancements include: Changing some of the SMS Intervention Thresholds to better reflect the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories' (BASICs) correlation to crash risk.

Used Truck Prices Still Increasing, Trailer Orders Ease

COLUMBUS, IN - Used heavy truck prices in the U.S. during May took a break from their increasing pace. Commercial vehicle data provider Act Research reports the average cost in April experienced a leveling off, in keeping with the trend of flattening age and mileage, coming in just shy of US$50,000.Compared to April, the average price is up eight percent from last year, with the gains in line for ACT's expectations of five percent to 10 percent price growth in 2015 in the Class 8 sector. Total reported sales volumes of used Class 8 trucks fell to 2,496 units in May, down 11 percent month-over-month, but up three percent year-over-year. "Volume softening can be seen in the retail and wholesale markets, with month over month declines of 12 percent and 14 percent, respectively," said Steve Tam, vice president, commercial vehicle sector with Act Research. "Auction transactions saw a nine percent increase month over month, eight percent above volumes from May 2014. Our guidance for full year 2015 sales remains unchanged."