Reflecting the changing nature of today's trucks from rolling machines to information processing centers, The Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) is changing its name to the Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) and will enlarge its focus.

TMC will take over many of the functions previously addressed by the former Information Technology and Logistics Council, which was eliminated during ATA's reorganization.

Under the new plan, TMC will add four additional study groups to its current structure. These will focus on technologies relevant to information technology and logistics professionals: data interchange; automated data entry; business processes; and technology and communications.

"On the horizon, we see a definite convergence of activities and interests between the on-board and off-board technology worlds," said Bill Wolterstorff, general chairman of TMC and fleet manager for Sather Trucking Corp. "Consequently, the technical and information requirements of our industry are changing, and we want to help shape that change."

Wolterstorff has appointed a committee to examine and propose an appropriate board structure for the expanded council, which will be voted on at TMC's March annual meeting. While all current TMC members will retain their board seats, there also will be some representation from the IT/logistic contingent.

GATX Affiliate Changes Name to ChemLogix GATX Chemical Logistics, a subsidiary of GATX Corp and a supplier of chemical logistics services to the chemical industry, has officially changed its name to ChemLogix LLC. Though it has a new, independent status, ChemLogix will remain an affiliate of GATX Corp.

ChemLogix will continue to deliver the same support it offered as GATX Chemical Logistics, and will expand upon its core competency of providing the chemical industry with customized logistics solutions to support process improvements and drive economic value and cost reduction initiatives. ChemLogix's support offering includes logistics planning, third-party logistics solutions, supply chain consulting, and inventory management services such as vendor managed inventory.

Chemical Educational Foundation Goes Global The board of trustees of the Chemical Educational Foundation (CEF) has voted to include senior association representatives from Europe, Canada, and Mexico "to incorporate and coordinate a more global view of chemical safety education," said Lisa Capone, CEF executive director.

New trustees are Miguel Benedetto and Audley Harlow of the Mexican and Canadian chemical distribution associations, respectively. The European chemical distribution association has not yet named its representative.

CEF officers include President Peter M Bokach, president of Ashland Distribution Co, Dublin OH; Vice-President James Hannan, president of Schnell Publishing Co, New York NY; and Treasurer Steve C Quandt, executive vice-president, Columbus Chemical Industries Inc, Columbus WI.

Pamela Butcher is the first representative from Dow Chemical Co, and Sylvia Ware comes to the board as the first representative from the American Chemical Society (ACS). Frederick Webber of the American Chemistry Council was re-elected to the board and will continue to work with CEF to reduce duplication of programs within industry.

Kenan, Advantage Plan to Merge Operations Kenan Transport Co and Advantage Management Group have entered into a merger agreement under which Advantage would acquire Kenan for $35 per share in cash. After the transaction, Kenan and Advantage will be owned by a new company to be called The Kenan Advantage Group Inc, and will provide transportation and logistics services to the petroleum industry.

Kenan's two largest shareholders, which are trusts for certain family members of Kenan's deceased founder, Frank H Kenan, have entered into agreements with Advantage to vote in favor of the merger. Certain Kenan directors and officers also have agreed to vote in favor of the merger. Collectively, these shareholders own more than 55% of Kenan's outstanding shares.

Advantage wants to finance the acquisition through expanded senior debt facilities from CIBC World Markets, additional subordinated debt from Rice Sangalis Toole and Wilson and Massachusetts Mutual Insurance Co, and additional equity from Advantage's primary equity sponsors, Sterling Investment Partners LP of Westport CT and RFE Investment Partners of New Canaan CT. Also providing additional equity are Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co, Aetna Life Insurance Co, and Rice Sangalis Toole and Wilson.

Among other things, the transaction depends upon approval of Kenan's shareholders and expiration of certain regulatory waiting periods. Subject to these conditions, the transaction is expected to close in second-quarter 2001.

After the merger, Lee P Shaffer, Kenan's current president and chief executive officer, will serve as chairman of Kenan Advantage Group. Dennis A Nash, president and CEO of Advantage, will serve as president and CEO of the new firm.

Trucking Industry Leaders Praise Mineta President George W Bush's nomination of Commerce Secretary Norman Y Mineta, a California Democrat, to head the Department of Transportation (DOT) has drawn high praise from the trucking industry.

"I think President Bush made an outstanding choice in selecting Norm Mineta to head the DOT," said Jim Johnston, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA). "His extensive transportation-related knowledge and experience will be a tremendous asset in addressing the many important issues facing the industry in the near future."

The head of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) echoed Johnston's statement. "He is a seasoned transportation veteran who understands and appreciates the important role that trucking plays in the economy," said Walter B McCormick Jr, ATA president and chief executive officer.

"This man is perfectly suited for the job," Bush said of Mineta. "It's also important to send a signal that this is an administration that recognizes talent when it sees it, regardless of political party."

The American Highway Users Alliance and the Roadway Safety Foundation also have praised the nomination.

Navistar Completes Brazilian Purchase Navistar International Corp will acquire the remaining 50% of an engine-making unit from Brazil's Iochpe-Maxion SA for $83.5 million. Navistar bought half of Maxion International Motores Ltd in March 1999 and will now exercise its option for the rest, the companies said. Roy Wiley, Navistar spokesman, said the transaction will be completed at the end of January 2001.

The purchase will give Chicago IL-based Navistar more influence in the South American diesel engine market. Maxion already supplied Navistar's South American operations with 7.3 liter, V-8 turbo diesel engines.

Brenner Tank to Consolidate Manufacturing Brenner Tank Inc, a manufacturer of transport tanks for the chemical, environmental, petroleum, food, and dairy industries, will consolidate its manufacturing operations, moving all processes to its headquarters in Fond du Lac WI.

Manufacturing at the company's Mauston WI plant will be shifted to Fond du Lac, while Mauston's service and used-tank center will remain open. About 80 employees at the Mauston plant will be affected. Some will be transferred to the Fond du Lac facility, others will elect early retirement, and some will be permanently laid off. Transition assistance will be provided by the company.

Dual-Fuel Engine Runs on Diesel, Natural Gas A technology from Caterpillar combines natural gas and diesel, resulting in an engine that provides the low emissions of natural gas, without giving up the performance of a Cat diesel.

"A Caterpillar Dual-Fuel engine primarily runs on natural gas - up to 85% in most applications - with a small volume of diesel injected to provide ignition," said David Semlow, marketing manager of the Caterpillar Truck Engine Division.

Dual-Fuel engines can run on either liquid natural gas or compressed natural gas. Both fuels have relatively high octane, which means better performance.

Other benefits include use of exhaust and compression brakes, similar to diesels; conversion back to straight diesel for improved resale value; and many of the diesel electronic monitoring and control features also function with Dual-Fuel operation. If a failure occurs in the natural gas system, the electronic controls instantly revert the engine to its traditional diesel operation, allowing drivers a back-up power source until a natural gas service facility can be located.

Dual-Fuel technology also allows combustion of natural gas at diesel compression levels, so spark plugs and restrictive air throttles are unneeded.

Engine ratings available with the Dual-Fuel technology are the 3126B 190 horsepower and 250 hp, C-10 305 hp, and C-12 410 hp. Dual-Fuel engines are CARB-certified to the 2.5 g NOx level, and where natural gas is readily available and cheaper than diesel, operating costs can be lower.

Converting an existing engine to Dual-Fuel requires relatively minor and mostly external changes to the original electronic diesel engine and can be performed by any Cat engine dealer. Dual-Fuel engines also can be ordered in many new trucks.

Penske Purchases Rollins Truck Leasing In a move that realigns the powers-that-be in the truck leasing and renting industry, Reading PA-based Penske Truck Leasing is buying Wilmington DE-based Rollins Truck Leasing Corp. The deal alters the leasing and renting landscape, amounting to a merger between the numbers two and three leasing companies that serve the trucking industry.

The acquisition will be made in a cash tender offer of $13 for each outstanding share of Rollins' common stock. It was approved by Rollins' board of directors recently.

Penske will acquire Rollins' 270 locations in the United States and Canada, along with its leasing and renting fleet of 53,000 vehicles. Penske operates a fleet of 152,000 vehicles, and has 750 locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, and Europe.

The companies did not say if the Rollins brand would be absorbed by Penske.

Viable Alternatives to Diesel Power In Short Supply, Economists Discover The fact that diesel engines play a fundamental role in powering the United States economy did not come as a surprise to two economists at Charles River Associates (CRA), who co-wrote the Diesel Powers America study released by the Diesel Technology Forum recently.

What did catch the interest of CRA's George C Eads and W David Montgomery is the lack of alternatives to diesel power that provide the same kinds of efficiencies - and what the implications for the US economy could be if restrictions on diesel engine use were arbitrarily put into place.

"The major message of this study is that diesel technology is everywhere," said Eads, director of CRA's Washington DC office. With a doctorate in economics from Yale, the former vice-president and chief economist for General Motors, who served on the President's Council of Economic Advisors in the Carter administration, said repercussions of removing diesel could be great.

"While it's nice to talk about alternatives, when you start to look at what some of those alternatives might be, you really have to think hard before you throw away diesel technology," said Eads.

"To my mind, the simplest way to think about it is that we have one set of uses where diesel technology is tremendously more efficient and contributes to much higher productivity than you could have without it," said Montgomery, director of CRA's environmental practice. "Then we have a whole other set of things we do in the economy where we can't figure out how you would possibly do them at all if you didn't have diesel."

Montgomery, a former deputy assistant Secretary of Energy and assistant director for the Congressional Budget Office, said that is a big reason why there is no meaningful way to calculate the economic effects of removing diesel engines.

UPS Acquires First International Bancorp Inc Shippers and carriers that have had difficulty finding lending institutions that understand and are willing to bankroll logistics and supply chain ventures will soon have a bank that speaks their language - courtesy of United Parcel Service (UPS).

The Atlanta GA-based package delivery giant is acquiring First International Bancorp Inc, the parent company of First International Bank, for about $78 million, to add First International's trade finance and commercial lending programs to UPS Capital Corp, the financial services arm of UPS.

UPS believes the acquisition will create a powerful combination of financial, shipping, and logistics solutions for customers that will enable them to manage their supply chains better through integration of funds, goods, and information. Also, First International's expertise in government-backed lending will enhance UPS Capital's financial services portfolio, which currently includes global trade finance, asset-based lending, factoring, payment solutions, and equipment leasing.

"First International serves small- and medium-size businesses that have traditionally been underserved by financial institutions," said Bob Bernabucci, chief executive officer of UPS Capital. "UPS and UPS Capital also are focused on this customer segment with distribution and financial solutions, so we believe this combination will be compelling."

First International primarily serves small- and medium-size manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers. The bank offers loans in amounts up to $10 million each, and, as of Sept 30, 2000, had a managed loan portfolio of about $1.2 billion, approximately two-thirds of which is substantially guaranteed or insured by United States government agencies and other sources.

Robertshaw Relocates to New Facility Robertshaw Industrial Products Division has moved from Knoxville TN to a new facility in Maryville TN.

Robertshaw IPD has implemented lean manufacturing initiatives, such as cell manufacturing, at its new 55,700-square-foot facility. The lean approach focuses on providing products and services in the least amount of time and for the lowest cost possible, processes that identify and eliminate waste, and a staff that uses Six Sigma procedures in delivering high-quality products, with the most efficiency.

"We've increased our productivity 35%. We've reduced our lead time to the customer by 50%, and in many cases we're shipping the same day," says Glenn Myers, Robertshaw IPD director of operations.

Robertshaw has incorporated cell manufacturing practices, replacing old batch manufacturing methods. All manufacturing capabilities, from the equipment to the materials, are now located in product-focused work cells, saving both time and requiring 30% less floor space. These work cells use continuous-flow assembly from one end of the U-shape cells to the other. All materials needed to produce each product are stocked in each individual cell, reducing material handling by 90%.

Peterbilt TruckCare Service Keeps Growing Since Peterbilt Motors Co expanded its TruckCare program to include a menu of preventive maintenance (PM) programs available via contract, enrollment continues to grow.

PM program members can have trucks serviced at any participating Peterbilt dealership in North America and receive consistent service and pricing. Peterbilt dealer sales personnel work with customers to develop a customized PM plan. Individual plans range from QuickCare to full contract maintenance. Maintenance appointments are scheduled through the TruckCare Call Center at 800-4-PETERBILT.

The TruckCare services card provides fleets with five or more trucks a tool for managing over-the-road expenses. Fuel can be purchased with the card at more than 4,000 locations, while parts and services can be purchased at any Peterbilt dealership in North America. The card can be used for emergency tire service and purchases through Bridgestone dealers. It also can be used as an ATM card, for driver cash advances or payroll, and as a prepaid phone card. Daily or weekly spending limits can be set, and adjustments to spending limits can be made 24 hours a day. Reports outline purchases and payment by driver, vehicle, and expense category.

TruckCare Total Customer Support services also include QuickCare QuickLube and AC services; TruckCare Connect, a parts inventory management and replenishment system; and Fleet ECAT, custom parts information for fleet technicians.

Cat `TOPPs' Own Program, Adds Used Trucks Caterpillar has announced a new Truck Owner Protection Plan (TOPP) program for used trucks powered by Cat heavy-duty truck engines. The program previously was available for new-truck owners only.

The used-truck offering covers Caterpillar 3406E, C-16, C-15, C-12, and C-10 engines, and is available in 12-month, 100,000-mile increments, with enrollment options up to 650,000 miles. Multiple-year combinations are available. Eligibility requires that an authorized Caterpillar parts and service facility perform an inspection and complete necessary repairs.

Enrolled units are covered for all engine repairs at a fixed rate for the length of the contract, and representatives at Caterpillar expedite all repairs. Each customer has an assigned factory customer service representative. Engine owners also are provided with computerized service history reports, and are reminded when service is due.

TOPP coverage also includes overtime and holiday labor costs; towing charges for covered components; scheduled oil sampling; performance problems; and excessive oil consumption. The program has no deductible, and all coverage is transferable and extendable.

Firms Team to Develop Composite Bumper Hendrickson International and Delphi Automotive Systems have announced a technology agreement to develop and manufacture a composite bumper for the medium- and heavy-duty truck and bus markets.

Originally developed for the aerospace industry, advanced composite materials are lighter than steel, aluminum, or magnesium by up to 80%. Composites can be designed to conduct 50% less vibration than steel and to be more impact-resistant.

Venezia Adds 96 Drivers to Emerald Club Venezia Transport Services Inc has named 96 drivers as winners of the second annual Emerald Club Awards, more than doubling the number of winners a year ago. The awards are given to the company's top performing drivers.

Fifty-five drivers earned the company's top Gold Medal award, valued at $500, while 28 earned the $350 Silver Medal and 13 reached the Club's $200 Bronze Medal level.

Emerald Club incentives are awarded to drivers who meet Venezia's monthly attendance, safe driving, and customer service standards. Drivers earn Gold Medals for hitting incentive targets in all 12 months of 2000. Silver Medals are awarded to drivers who meet performance goals in 11 of 12 months, with Bronze Medals given for those qualifying in 10 of 12 months.

Video Series Can Help Improve Fuel Economy A new video training series from Caterpillar Inc shows driving techniques and management procedures that can help truck owners get better fuel economy.

The series includes three programs, each comprised of an instructional videotape, a workbook, and a guide to help fleet managers present the material to a small group. Each program is sold separately, so truck owners can select topics that are most relevant to their operation, or the three programs can be purchased as a unit at a discount. Power Professional will be available through Caterpillar dealers early in 2001, and also will be sold online; ordering information soon will be available at www.cattruckengines.com. Programs include:

- Power Under the Hood - Understanding Diesel Engines.

- Power Performance - Driving a Cat Diesel Engine.

- Powering Your Bottom Line - Managing the Truck Operation.

To order, contact Caterpillar, 100 NE Adams St, Peoria IL 61629; or phone 800-321-7332.

FMCSA Announces Interim Final Rule For Reporting Motor Carrier Information The United States Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced an interim final rule to revise its requirements for motor carriers to file the Motor Carrier Identification Report, Form MCS-150.

As of Dec 26, 2000, the FMCSA is requiring motor carriers to update the information in this form every 24 months. Previously, only new motor carriers were required to complete and submit the form before they began to operate in interstate commerce.

This change is required by the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999. A provision in that law requires periodic updating of the motor carrier identification report - not more frequently than once every two years.

Form MCS-150 is a single-page report that all motor carriers subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) must complete and submit to the FMCSA before they begin to operate in interstate commerce. Motor carriers must provide basic information such as name, address, telephone number, cargo classifications, any types of hazardous materials carried, numbers and types of equipment used, number of drivers, and types of operations.

FMCSA enters the MCS-150 information into the Motor Carrier Safety Information System (MCMIS) and assigns the carrier a US DOT identification number. FMCSA uses the information contained in the MCMIS to track motor carrier safety performance, assess nationwide motor carrier safety trends, and evaluate effectiveness of federal motor carrier programs.

These are the key provisions of the interim final rule: - Month and year to file the update are set according to the last and next-to-last digits of a motor carrier's US DOT number.

- The last digit determines the filing month: if it is a 1, a carrier must file by the end of January; if it is a 2, by the end of February; and so on. If it is a zero, a carrier must file by the end of October. No filings are required in November and December.

- The next-to-last digit determines the filing year: If it is even, a motor carrier must file its update in an even-numbered year. If it is odd, it must file in an odd-numbered year.

- For calendar year 2001 only, motor carriers normally required to file by the end of January or February 2001 have until March 30, 2001, to file.

- Some interstate motor carriers are required to submit similar information to states as part of their annual vehicle registration requirement under FMCSA's PRISM program, which links state commercial motor vehicle registration to a carrier's safety fitness. These motor carriers will not be required to file it also with the FMCSA.

For more information, phone 202-366-0456 or access the web site http://dms.dot.gov/.

DOT Forms Transportation Export Council One of the last acts by outgoing Secretary of Transportation Rodney E Slater was the formation of a group aimed at exporting United States transportation know-how to the rest of the world. Called the Transportation Export Council (TEC), it is focused on stimulating economic growth and trade by advancing transportation-related exports, while enhancing US business opportunities overseas and encouraging US investment in sustainable global infrastructure development.

The TEC initially will focus on emerging markets in Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia, providing opportunities for them to learn about US technologies to help enhance their transportation initiatives.

RSPA Cuts HazMat Registration Fees The United States Department of Transportation's Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) has announced a temporary reduction in registration fees paid by persons who offer or transport hazardous materials in commerce.

Since registration fees collected were more than the amount anticipated when the fee schedule was established, RSPA is reducing future collections until the surplus is expended. For small businesses, RSPA is proposing to lower temporarily the annual fee for the next six years to the minimum provided by law, from $275 to $250. For the same period, the annual fee for large shippers and carriers would drop from $1,975 to $475.

Outgoing RSPA Administrator Kelley S Coyner, said, "We also intend to re-evaluate the registration fee within three years to determine if a permanent change can be made to the fee structure."

Money collected through registration fees supports the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grants program. These grants are used by state and local governments to enhance emergency response planning and training activities to protect communities in the event of a transportation-related hazmat incident.

FleetNet, T-Chek to Offer Services for Fleets FleetNet America LLC, a unit of Arkansas Best Corp, has reached an agreement with T-Chek Systems Inc to provide roadside and preventive maintenance services to T-Chek customers. Fleets that use T-Chek cards and services can obtain FleetNet's services via their T-Chek account.

Using a network of repair vendors, FleetNet America provides road breakdown and preventive maintenance services to truck fleets throughout the 48 states and Canada.

T-Chek Systems provides payment and information services to the transportation industry. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of C H Robinson Worldwide Inc.

PTDI Certifies, Recertifies More Schools Thirteen more schools have been certified by the Professional Truck Driver Institute. More than 70 truck driver training schools now offer PTDI-certified courses in the United States and Canada. The PTDI Commission also recertified 10 schools.

Schools receiving certification for the first time are: Arkansas Commercial Driver Training institute, Newport AR; Clearfield County Vo-Tech School Truck Driver Training, Clearfield PA; Fifth Wheel Training Institute, New Liskeard, Ontario, Canada; Isothermal Community College/SAGE Technical Services Inc, Spindale NC; Mid Ohio Truck Driver Training, Marietta OH; PIA Truck Driving Program of Indiana County, Homer City PA; Sage Technical Services, Caldwell ID; Schuylkill Technology Center, Pottsville PA; South Central AVTS Truck Driver Training, West Plains MO; Super Service Truck Driver Training, Somerset KY; Trans American Technical Institute, Carbondale PA; TransportSafe Training Center, New Orleans LA; Vincennes University Tractor-Trailer Driver Training, Indianapolis IN; and Washington County Career Center, Marietta OH.

These programs were recertified: All-State Career, Lester PA; ATDS-Prairie Hill, Prairie Hill TX; Houston Community College Northeast Commercial Truck Driving Center, Houston TX; KRTS Transportation Specialists Inc, Caledonia, Ontario, Canada; PIA Truck Driving Program, Pittsburgh PA; Professional Drivers Academy, Milton PA; Swift Transportation, Phoenix AZ; and US Xpress Enterprises Inc, Medway OR.

Michigan Lawmakers OK Single Business Tax The Michigan House of Representatives has approved a bill that will reduce by at least two-thirds the Canadian trucking industry's liability for the Michigan Single Business Tax (MSBT). This bill passed by a vote of 88 to 14.

These changes will allow Canadian trucking firms to reduce the amount of compensation included in determining their SBT tax base, by either a straight 50% or by a mileage-based formula.

Michigan Gov John Engler still needs to sign the bill into law. Under Michigan law, even if the governor does not sign the bill, it has the force of law. While the governor has the right of veto, his office has indicated his support for the bill.

The "Michigan model" will now be employed to try and bring about constructive change in Pennsylvania and other states where noncreditable taxes are applied to Canadian truckers.

Stricter Penalties Sought For Overweight Vehicles The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) wants tougher penalties for trucking companies that repeatedly run overweight vehicles on the Nutmeg State's highways.

A proposed bill would allow the DMV commissioner to suspend a trucking license for a company that does not pay a $2,000 fine within 30 days of a second conviction. If a third conviction results, a $5,000 fine may be levied. Under current state law, no fine is assessed for three-time offenders.

Gary J DeFilippo, acting commissioner of the DMV, said the proposed legislation also would improve communication between the state judicial department, which processes truck weight violations, and the DMV, which levies fines.

Trimac Wins ATA Awards Trimac Transportation has placed first in the American Trucking Associations (ATA) national truck safety contest in the Tank Trucks/Line Haul Over 25 Million Miles division. This award, based on Department of Transportation recordable vehicle accident frequency reports, is administered by the ATA's Safety and Loss Prevention Management Council.

Additionally, Trimac earned second place in the Industrial Safety Contest in the Tank Trucks Over 300 Employees category. This award is based on injury frequency as determined by criteria established under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

These awards were presented recently at the ATAs' Awards Breakfast in St Louis MO.