Calif. – Volvo Trucks North America has deployed its first VNR electric truck
as part of the Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solution (LIGHTS) project.
Equipment’s Fontana, Calif., dealership is operating the truck, delivering
parts between its dealerships.
“Volvo Trucks is proud to lead the way in
the sustainable electrification of freight movement. Working
with our dealership, TEC Equipment, to pilot
the first Volvo VNR Electric on the road and in
real-world applications is an exciting step toward
our plans to commercialize these zero-emission trucks in North
America this fall,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of
Volvo Trucks North America. “The all-electric Volvo VNR will
become the ideal truck model for short- and regional-haul
applications, such as urban distribution and drayage.”
has two 50-kW chargers in its shop, as well as a 150-kW charger outside its
facility to enable charging.
“This experience in designing, planning, and
installing high-power chargers for electric trucks has taught us how
critical it is to engage a variety of stakeholders early on,” said Aravind
Kailas, advanced technology policy director for Volvo Group North America. “The
Volvo LIGHTS project has provided valuable insight into how to build realistic
project timelines. Despite the unavoidable delays due to the COVID-19
situation, we’re proud the team has been able to continue moving the
“We are proud that our
Fontana dealership will be first in in North
America to pilot the Volvo VNR Electric model,” added Dave Thompson, president and CEO
of TEC Equipment. “Through the Volvo LIGHTS project, we
are gaining valuable hands-on experience for our drivers and
maintenance staff to ensure that we are well prepared to support the widescale deployment
of these advanced, zero-emission trucks throughout the Southern
California freight corridor.”
Canada’s first natural gas-electric hybrid to be demonstrated
AYR, Ont. –
Hiller Truck Tech has taken delivery of the first natural gas-electric hybrid
Class 8 tractor, which it plans to demonstrate June 18-19.
Freightliner Cascadia has a 12L Cummins natural gas engine, coupled with a
retrofit Hyliion electric axle. The combination, according to Hiller Truck Tech
owner Dave Hiller, overcomes the weight restrictions that have thus far limited
adoption of the Cummins ISX 12G natural gas engine in Canada.
upon taking delivery of the tractor, Hiller said it was put to the test
grossing 124,000 lbs pulling a load of corn. He’s confident the combination
will be a good fit for fleets wanting a low-GHG engine capable of pulling
fleets, including Groupe Robert, C.A.T., Loblaw, Challenger, The Beer Store, municipalities
and others are expected to attend the two-day demonstration, Hiller said. Afterwards,
Hiller Truck Tech will rent out the truck so that fleets can test it in their
own operating environments.
located at the Flying J Truck Stop in Ayr, Ont., at Exit 268 off the 401.
Keeping all Covid-related precautions in mind, visitors will have the
opportunity to take the truck for a test drive and to learn more about the
technology. The demos will run from 9 a.m. till 6 p.m. both days.
axle can be factory-installed or retrofit, with some additional wiring and
electronics work required at a plant in Austin, Texas. Dana is part-owner of the
e-axle company. The first batch of natural gas-electric hybrids were delivered
to a grocery delivery company in New York, Hiller said, adding the company has
placed a second order for more units.
The ISX 12G
produces just 400 hp, but propulsion assistance provided by the Hyliion e-axle
makes it compatible for heavier payloads required in Canada. But Cummins has
thus far refused to budge on increasing warranty coverage for gross weights in
excess of 80,000 lbs. Hiller said talks are in progress to discuss this issue.
talking to them now, saying this is an electric assist system. There’s also some
aftermarket warranty we can purchase,” Hiller said. “This is all new to Cummins,
and they are still stating ‘No, this is supposed to be an 80,000-lb truck
Hiller is optimistic
the combination could be a good alternative for fleets, such as Robert, which were
reliant on the now-discontinued 15L Westport LNG engines. Hiller acknowledged
there will be a 10-20% fuel economy penalty compared to diesel, but added
natural gas is less expensive, helping to offset higher operating costs. There
is also a growing network of renewable natural gas supply stations available to
help fleets significantly lower their GHG emissions.
AUSTIN, Texas – Electric powertrain specialist Hyliion has merged
with Tortoise Acquisition Corp., and will list on the New York Stock Exchange
under the symbol HYLN.
Hyliion says the move will assist its corporate expansion and advance
development of its powertrain solutions.
“We are building solutions that are available today
and address the immediate needs of today’s trucking fleets,” said Thomas Healy,
CEO and founder of Hyliion. “Hyliion’s solutions were specifically developed to
utilize existing infrastructure in an effort to support rapid technology
deployment. Our mission is to enable our fleet customers to quickly realize
lower carbon emissions and significantly lower cost of ownership benefits
provided by our technology.”
The company was founded in 2015 and offers hybrid
and fully-electric powertrain solutions. Healy will continue as CEO. Dana is
part-owner of Hyliion and will maintain its share of equity ownership.
TORONTO, Ont. — While some trucking segments are enjoying a surge in demand, others are struggling because of Covid-19 closures.
Drivers working in dedicated transportation segments such as auto haulers, or those working in the resource sector, are among those affected.
Cambridge, Ont.-based Challenger Motor Freight, for example, has temporarily laid off 40 drivers.
“Some of our dedicated businesses shut down due to the provincial shutdown. So, we have a few drivers temporarily laid off, but other than that we’re still doing good,” said Geoff Topping, Challenger’s vice-president of human resources.
Twenty support staff will also be laid off, but all will continue to receive company benefits, Topping added.
An Ontario hauler of auto parts, which requested to remain anonymous, said it had been hit hard by the closures.
All of its 400 drivers are either owner-operators or independent contractors. Most of them are out of job now because of the fleet’s heavy reliance on the automotive industry. In some cases, drivers have chosen to stay home.
“We are predominantly doing auto parts, and the automobile industry is entirely down right now. We don’t do much of the general freight, only 10%,” a company executive said.
The lack of business has led to the layoff of 80 office staff, more than 80% of its employees.
In Alberta, the Mullen Group laid off an undisclosed number of employees this month in response to what company chairman and CEO Murray Mullen called “unprecedented declines in economic activity” because of the pandemic.
Quebec’s Groupe Robert has laid off a few drivers, but the company did not say how many people have been affected.
The cuts are not limited to for-hire fleets.
Mike Millian, president of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, told Today’s Trucking that several PMTC members are in the process of laying off drivers and other staff.
He said many of them are also struggling with whether to act now or wait until full details of government relief packages announced in the past few weeks are released.
The federal government has unveiled stimulus measures worth $107 billion, including tax deferrals, interest-free loans, and a 75% wage subsidy for small- and medium-sized companies to avert layoffs.
More details are expected to be released in Ottawa this week.
“We have some members, who provide essential services, like delivering food, supplies to stores, medical supplies, among others, who are becoming busy and struggling for drivers and equipment, but that is far outweighed by those who do not have enough work to keep their drivers moving,” Millian said.
The PMTC has asked fleets looking for work to contact its offices with their details so that it can put them in touch with carriers needing extra power and labor, Millian said.
“The ones looking for help are outnumbered three-to-one by those who need work. This industry is a resilient one, and this will be the toughest test yet,” he added.
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Harpreet and Mohinder Chadde have had enough – they have been victims of alleged cargo and vehicle thefts, three times in the past year.
The owners of Talhan Transport, a small company based
in Mississauga, they are reeling, financially and emotionally.
“How can we survive?” asked Mohinder Chadde during an interview with Road Today, our sister publication.
The couple have been in trucking since 1996, and
started the company in 2005. Of late, their efforts to grow the business have
been stymied by falling freight rates, cut-throat competition, unavailability
of reliable drivers and now, theft.
The latest incident happened Dec. 20, the last day of
work before Christmas. Harpreet Chadde and her husband had barely left the
office, when someone alerted them of the theft.
“We left the office at 4:53 p.m. and at 4:58 p.m. my
truck was gone,” she said.
That means they were being watched by the criminals, Harpreet
She said the thieves took the tractor because they
wanted to steal a trailer somewhere else.
Police were informed as the couple rushed back to
“It was Friday night. I called the cops. They said it may take two-to-three hours. I waited for the cops here in the office until 10. After that, I went home. Nobody came,” said Harpreet Chadde.
Later that night, following a tip, the couple tracked the truck down to Malton, about 20 km from their office.
Cops ‘way too busy’
“We asked the police to come and release the truck to
us,” said Mohinder Chadde.
But they were “way too busy”.
Police also advised the couple against attempting to
recover the vehicle on their own, warning that would amount to potential theft.
Around midnight, someone went back to the truck,
heated it up for about 20 minutes and drove away as the couple sat in their car
and shot a video of the crime.
“They stole it right in front of us,” said Harpreet
Cops came to their office the next morning and left
after taking notes.
Two more harrowing days would pass before the couple
would recover their truck, dumped in Malton.
By then the Volvo rig had been driven 350 km, was on the Express Toll Route twice for which Talhan received an invoice, and wasn’t the truck they saw the last time.
One fender and the grill were broken, the fridge and the heater were ripped off the cab. In all, the losses were estimated at more than $16,000, with Talhan on hook for $5,000 in insurance deductible.
The couple said they had been penalized for no fault
“And I don’t know how much the insurance will go up by at renewal,” added Mohinder Chadde.
The first burglary at the company site happened in
March 2019, and lasted almost five hours. A gang of four came and tried to open
the truck and trailer, but was unable to do so.
“Then they called a mechanic… Yeah, I have the
surveillance of everything,” said Harpreet Chadde.
The thieves could not find anything, because the trailer
was empty. Frustrated, the gang left with whatever tools were in the truck, she
Talhan doesn’t keep any loaded trailers in the yard
for safety reasons.
The company is C-TPAT compliant, which means voluntary
enrolment in the U.S.-led Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program.
Members are eligible for streamlined inspections and shorter wait times at the
That made no difference to the thieves, though.
Harpreet Chadde said police have told trucking
companies that they are operating in a high-risk area.
“If you guys know it is a high-risk area, then why not implement something to stop the thefts,” she asked.
Ground zero of cargo theft
“A target-rich environment.”
Former police officer Mike Proska quoted from the 1986 Tom Cruise-starrer Top Gun to describe the situation in the Peel Region, where cargo crime has been a major problem for years.
“So, where there’s
going to be a high volume of goods, that equates to a high volume of
opportunity,” Prosca said.
He runs the
private investigation agency Burloak Investigative Services, based in Burlington, Ont.
Proska spoke to Road
Today in late March when Ontario was ramping up efforts to stop the spread
“They just steal non-stop, no matter what’s going on.”
– Mike Proska, president, Burloak Investigative Services
In the third week
of March, he said, there were four cases reported to his company alone.
“They just steal
non-stop, no matter what’s going on,” said Proska.
Brampton, Mississauga and the Town of Caledon, has in recent years emerged as
the trucking capital of Canada.
Along with the
fame has come notoriety — as the ground zero of cargo theft.
But it has been
making progress steadily, with Peel Regional Police reporting a substantial
reduction in cargo and vehicle thefts last year, when they registered 173 cases.
That is sharply
down from 341 in 2018, but still a lot.
“I always say that
cargo theft is the seed money,” said Todd Moore, another former police officer.
“It is that seed
money, or the profits made from cargo theft, that help fund other criminal
activity like drug importation.”
Moore should know.
He is vice-president of cargo theft and specialty risks at ISB Global Services, a Milton, Ont.-based company that provides investigative services.
He said more
profits are made from the trafficking of drugs than from commodities or real
Moore said there
are dedicated groups that handle each step of the operation, which is modeled
like a business undertaking.
“They have storage
warehouses. They are almost like, you know, Costco or Walmart where they have a
variety of different products… They have brokers and a distribution system… It
is like a logistics company.”
The No. 1 reason
why cargo theft is such a problem in the Greater Toronto Area is that the GTA
has one of probably the most unique landscapes for organized crime groups,
Moore said. The Peel Region is part of the GTA.
traditional organized crime groups, you got Eastern European organized crime
groups, you got Asian organized crime groups, South Asian organized crime
groups… all actively involved in cargo theft.”
Moore said, is the easy access to one of the biggest airports in North America
– Pearson International – and to the 400 series highways.
Burloak, said there are probably at least half a dozen crews or quasi crews –
investigative lingo for criminal groups – operating throughout Ontario.
“We often see a
crew or two from Quebec coming into Ontario and do thefts here as well, and
then take the goods back into Quebec.”
and the neighboring York Region have dedicated units to fight cargo thieves.
“Chances are, unless the thief has a horrendous criminal record, he probably is not going to do jail time for the offence if caught, which causes a lack of deterrence.”
– Todd Moore, vice-president, cargo theft and specialty risks, ISB Global Services.
acknowledged that there is a lack of deterrence as well as loopholes in the
justice system that the criminals are taking advantage of.
He said if someone
is caught with a couple of keys of cocaine that person will end up in jail for
up to two years, but if someone is caught with a trailer load of stolen goods,
there are a number of factors that prosecutors have to prove beyond a
reasonable doubt in order to get a conviction.
“And at the end of the day, cargo theft is by definition a property related offence. So, chances are, unless the thief has a horrendous criminal record, he probably is not going to do jail time for the offence if caught, which causes a lack of deterrence.”
Moore also said that
police are facing budget restrictions in the fight against cargo theft as they
have to prioritize their focus amid a multitude of different types of criminal
doesn’t see any enforcement issues in Peel.
probably the best enforcement team in the country as far as trying to catch and
put away all these cargo thieves.”
Burloak offers services that cuts investigative red tape sharply, Proska said.
“As soon as a
cargo theft is reported by one of our clients, we commence our investigation.
We basically put boots on the ground the minute we are notified.”
First line of
Moore thinks the
best and easiest way to put a dent on theft is placing GPS trackers in every
He calls GPS the first line of defence, but less than 15% of trailers in Canada have GPS devices on them.
Moore said the general public considers cargo theft as a victimless crime, too.
you peel back the onion, cargo theft is more than a property crime. It is an
organized crime problem.”
Rogers partners with Fleet Complete to offer fleet management tools
TORONTO, Ont. – Rogers Communications has partnered with Fleet Complete to offer customers a full range of commercial fleet management and asset tracking offerings, the companies announced.
The collaboration will offer connected technologies, including vehicle and asset GPS tracking, to fleets that operate across Canada and the U.S.
“In partnership with Fleet Complete, Rogers is bringing Canadian businesses the latest in critical fleet management solutions,” says Dean Prevost, president, Rogers for Business. “With Fleet Complete’s innovative IoT platform, powered by Canada’s most trusted network, we are enabling fleet-owning businesses of all sizes to elevate the customer experience and use smart technologies to drive cost-effectiveness and improve safety.”
Tony Lourakis, founder and CEO of Fleet Complete added, “We are very excited to partner with Rogers, a leader in IoT, to bring leading-edge telematics solutions to more Canadian businesses. Together, we will deliver smart solutions to municipalities and bring new opportunities to the people they serve.”
Omnitracs lab focusing on hyper-local weather, parking deserts
TORONTO, Ont. – Today’s vehicle-based data offers information about trailer locations and more. But work at the Omnitracs Innovation Lab is taking a hyper-local focus – building new insights into everything from local weather conditions to parking deserts.
The Chicago-based group, which operates like a
separate start-up company within Omnitracs, was created a year ago with the
goal of using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to solve
“With enough of the right kind of data, we believe most events are predictable,” says Michal ‘Mic’ Yariv, vice-president and general manager – strategic initiatives, during a related webinar. And that even refers to events like mechanical breakdowns, accidents, and detention times at a shipper’s location.
the right information, the trucking industry can focus more on time than
mileage as a key metric. That, she said, is particularly important in an era of
electronic logging devices (ELDs).
already a lot of data to be had. Omnitracs has 10,000 customers, and monitors
about 1.2 million trucks per day, generating 30 terabytes of position-related
data per year.
so much of this data allows us to produce insights that you can’t really
produce on your own,” she said.
Still, the local details make a difference. It’s why drivers still turn to their peers on social media for insights into how long it takes for a particular customer to unload trailers. There are limitations to social approach, though, since the answer can vary depending on the day of week, time of year, and type of equipment.
It’s led the lab to focus on activities around 6.69 million unique locations, tapping into the anonymous, aggregated data from individual trucks.
Looking beyond traditional geofencing, the Omnitracs lab added a layer of GPS points to see where trucks accessed the locations, and related spots like security shacks and bobtail parking lots. From there, they began to calculate dwell times. Online posts by drivers were analyzed to add yet another layer of data.
do this across thousands of trucks, and thousands of visits, then you can start
understanding the patterns,” Yariv said.
in weather can be monitored more closely as well.
“There’s so much work being done right now in generating new source of weather data, it really helps,” Yariv said.
Connected cars can identify when a group of vehicles have activated windshield wipers. Artificial intelligence can monitor the images on traffic cameras.
Even the signals from microwave towers offer insights.
“When they’re emitting microwaves and sending them, there’s a difference between a perfect wave and a wave that’s distorted,” she explained. The end result can identify precipitation at a hyper-local level, generating alerts within a truck, or notes for safety and operations teams.
By plotting locations when drivers are in their sleeper berths for five hours or more, Omnitracs is also looking to identify parking deserts — the locations where drivers might be forced to stop on a highway or park at an interchange.
work here isn’t done,” she said, referring to the lab’s ongoing work to
identify acceptable locations like terminals, gas stations, and rest areas.
closer to science fact than science fiction. Omnitracs expects to roll out some
of the related location-based intelligence data in its products within the
Testing of e-documents for dangerous goods shipments underway
OTTAWA, Ont. – Transport Canada has begun testing the use of electronic documents for dangerous goods shipments, the federal agency announced on its website.
The Transportation of Dangerous Goods regulations currently requires a physical paper shipping document to follow most dangerous goods while they are in transport.
The documents include information on the goods being transported and give first responders the information they need to respond to incidents when they occur.
“Unfortunately, paper documents can be lost or destroyed, which can cause delays in emergency response,” Transport Canada said.
It said electronic documents offer a number of potential benefits, as they can be:
Easier to read;
Simpler to update;
Quicker to share with emergency responders;
Integrated with other digital business processes;
More flexible and able to give Canadian businesses a competitive edge; and
Aligned with international regulations.
The two-year project will look at using electronic documents across four modes of transportation: air, marine, rail, and road.
“No specific technology or system will be imposed by this project, because we are interested in evaluating a variety of platforms and technologies,” Transport Canada said.
The agency is looking for carriers, shippers, first responders, enforcement personnel and other stakeholders to participate in the project. They can do so by submitting feedback or completing questionnaires.
U.S. bill promises billions for highways, would delay HOS rule
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A U.S. infrastructure bill unveiled yesterday would fund highways and clean transportation efforts, but also delay a final hours of service rule, and push for a rulemaking on driver detention and changes to the CSA safety rating program.
The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure introduced a US $500-billion, five-year infrastructure bill, proposing to spend nearly double last year’s US $287-billion Senate version, which at the time was described as “the largest highway legislation in history.”
Highways would be targeted with $319 billion,
prioritizing fixing broken and outdated infrastructure, including 47,000
The House’s Investing in a New Vision for the
Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act would measure state-by-state greenhouse gas
emissions, offering incentives for reducing carbon pollution, and boosting the
funding for charging stations and fueling options used by electric and
It includes $4.6 billion over five years for the U.S. Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration, with part of that used for a new Large Truck
Crash Causal Factors Study.
Opinions about the bill
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) released a statement supporting provisions such as increased funding for highway construction, US $250 million for truck parking projects, provisions that will help limit excessive detention time and predatory lease-to-own schemes, new restrictions on tolling, and analysis of H-1B Visa use within the trucking industry.
But the association said it was
concerned about provisions that would return CSA scores to the public before
the system is perfected, and delay implementing FMCSA’s final hours of service
rule that was published June 1 and scheduled to take hold in late September.
The bill would require the
Transportation Department to delay the hours of service rule until 60 days
after submitting a “comprehensive review of hours of service rules and the
impacts of waivers, exemptions, and other allowances that limit the
applicability of such rules.” The bill would require that report to be
completed in no more than 18 months and published in the Federal Register for
The bill also directs the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Administration to change its personal conveyance guidance
to establish specific mileage and/or time limits.
It calls for the department to
initiate a rulemaking on a regulation that would establish limits on the amount
of time a driver can be detained by a shipper or receiver without compensation,
American Trucking Associations
President and CEO Chris Spear said in a statement, “This draft legislation
contains significant investment in our country’s roads and bridges and
approaches highway and truck safety from a data-driven perspective. And while
we may not agree on every provision therein, this is a real and commendable
step on the part of the committee to advance the process in the House and ultimately
arrive at a negotiable solution with the Senate.”
The bill drew swift reaction from
House Republicans and other critics saying a more bipartisan approach is
Committee on Transportation and
Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves, Subcommittee on Highways and Transit
Ranking Member Rodney Davis, and Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and
Hazardous Materials Ranking Member Rick Crawford (R-AR) made a joint statement,
saying the bill “lacks critical flexibility for the states, its outsized
funding increases for urban areas will leave rural America even further behind,
and numerous new green mandates and extreme progressive goals are woven
throughout the fabric of new and existing core programs.”
American Association of State Highway
and Transportation Officials executive director Jim Tymon praised the
committee for taking the first step in reauthorizing surface transportation
programs before they expire this fall.
“Transportation has traditionally
been a bipartisan issue, and both sides of the aisle will have to work together
to get a surface transportation bill over the finish line,” he said. “We remain
encouraged that infrastructure appears to be a priority in both the House and
the Senate and we look forward to working with Congressional leaders to enact
legislation before the expiration of the FAST Act that will fully fund the
highway trust fund and ensure the nation’s transportation system remains the
backbone to economic vitality and overall quality of life.”
“With historic unemployment, tremendous unmet
infrastructure needs, and less than four months before the expiration of
surface transportation programs, this is no time for another partisan approach
to infrastructure,” said Neil Bradley, U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive
vice-president and chief policy officer.
The INVEST in America Act is highly unlikely to make it into law in its current form. It first must be passed by the full House, and then the House and Senate must work on creating a compromise bill before it can go to the president’s desk for a signature.
In addition, regardless of the form of the final highway reauthorization bill, Congress must still determine how to pay for it.
This article is offered through a content sharing agreement with Heavy-Duty Trucking Magazine.