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Sequestration-Border Budget Cuts Not Expected to Take Immediate Effect

March 1, 2013 at 12 pm EST – it's when massive budget cuts in the U.S. – known as sequestration – became official. This does not me

an the budget cuts took immediate effect. The Office of Management and Budget must still send to Congress a detailed accounting of the cuts – how much from which agencies and which accounts. CTA has been informed by sources at various ports that the cuts won't kick-in for at least 30 days due to labour negotiations with federal workers. In fact, President Obama told media today that the cuts are "not a cliff, but it is a tumble downward."

Although not official, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on February 14th stated that Customs and Border Protection would be facing more than half a billion dollars in cuts, and as a consequence CBP would not be able to maintain current staffing levels of border patrol agents and CBP officers as mandated by Congress. Sequestration would force CBP to immediately begin furloughs of its employees, reduce overtime for frontline operations, and decrease its hiring to backfill positions. Specifically, beginning April 1, CBP would have to reduce its work hours by the equivalent of over 5,000 Border Patrol agents and the equivalent of over 2,750 CBP officers.

As CTA reported in its news release February 27, 2013 the Canadian trucking industry could be sideswiped as sequestration would severely impact border operations in the form of significant border delays.

The question remains, though, when will the cuts actually be felt by industry, where, and to what degree? What we do know is that border officers probably won't suddenly vanish over the next few days, but whether ports remain fully operational during the entire month of March remains a question. CTA and the provincial trucking associations will be working with local ports to monitor the situation. CTA and the provincial associations will distribute updates to member carriers as we learn them and encourage the carrier community to contact their local association and CTA if there are extensive delays at the various border crossings.

Terry Shaw
General Manager
Manitoba Trucking Asssociation

Volvo News from Mid-America Trucking Show

Volvo Trucks raised the bar for North American heavy-haul tractors with its reveal of the Volvo VNX, a high-performance model designed for...


Volvo Trucks raised the bar for North American heavy-haul tractors with its reveal of the Volvo VNX, a high-performance model designed for extreme gross weight applications. At the core of the powerful VNX is a Volvo integrated powertrain featuring a newly introduced D16 engine with 600 horsepower, 2,050 lb.-ft. torque and I-Shift automated manual transmission. Volvo showed the VNX at the 2013 Mid-America Trucking Show.

Volvo News from Mid-America Trucking Show

Developed for applications up to 225,000 pounds, the Volvo VNX is ideal for long combination vehicles, heavy equipment hauling, aggregate, low-boy, logging, oil field and mining operations. VNX demonstrator models will be available early summer, and customers can begin placing orders fall of 2013.

"We're proud to introduce a truly premium heavy-haul tractor, which combines an extremely powerful integrated powertrain with the safety and comfort features drivers desire," said Goran Nyberg, president, Volvo Trucks North America Sales & Marketing.

Key features of the Volvo VNX include:

Integrated Powertrain: D16 Engine and Volvo I-Shift

New for the Volvo VNX is a 16-liter D16 engine with 600 horsepower and 2,050 lb.-ft. torque, Volvo's most powerful North American engine. The VNX also features Volvo's I-Shift automated manual transmission, a standard feature across Volvo's North American product lineup. I-Shift's integrated sensors identify truck load and road grade to place the truck in the right gear for the conditions for smooth, optimum shifts, improving fuel efficiency and extending clutch life and service intervals.

"A Volvo integrated powertrain ensures seamless communication between the engine and transmission and maximizes the efficiency of the components," said Nyberg. "The Volvo D16 engine and I-Shift are a proven combination utilized globally for heavy-haul applications."

Heavy-Haul Components

Available in 6x4 and 8x4 configurations, the Volvo VNX offers a wide range of heavy-haul components to ensure it's properly spec'd for the job. Front axle ratings range from 16,000 to 20,000 pounds with parabolic springs. The VNX is available with 385 wide-base, 425 and 445 tires to match front axle load capacity. Available rear axles range from 46,000 to 52,000 pounds in regular, dual-track and wide-track tandem configurations are available. Dual steering gears and a 20,000-pound steerable pusher axle are also available as options.

The imposing VNX provides an increased ride height to accomodate more articulation and front ramp angle. A signature feature of the VNX is its distinct metallic, honeycomb-patterned grille and brightfinish steel bumper with center tow pin. A brightfinish steel moose bumper with center tow pin is also available.

Driver Comfort and Safety Features

The VNX utilizes Volvo's full-size daycab equipped with Volvo's ergonomic dash, ample storage room and contemporary styling and trim levels, ranging from vinyl for rugged applications to premium leather for ultimate driver comfort.

The Volvo VNX also provides proven safety features, like a sloped hood and large windshield for superior visibility, standard driver's side airbag and cab constructed with High-Strength Steel. Also standard is Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology, a full electronic stability program that assists the driver in maintaining control during emergency maneuvers and braking events, dramatically reducing the likelihood of a rollover or jackknife.

Remote Diagnostics

Standard on all Volvo-powered, Remote Diagnostics helps maximize vehicle uptime by providing diagnostic and repair planning assistance with detailed analysis of critical diagnostic trouble codes. In addition to providing proactive diagnostic and repair planning assistance, the service helps improve parts availability and provides technicians at the repairing dealer with easy-to-read repair instructions before the truck arrives for service. Remote Diagnostics has demonstrated a marked improvement in repair accuracy and efficiency, reducing the average diagnostic time at a service location by 71 percent and lowering the average time of repair by 25 percent.

Volvo Trucks North America's operations and products are guided by the company's three core values: Quality, Safety and Environmental Care. The Volvo VNM, VNL, VNX, VHD and VAH trucks are assembled in the United States at the New River Valley Plant in Dublin, Virginia, while Volvo engines for North America are assembled in Hagerstown, Maryland. Both plants are certified to ISO14001 environmental and ISO9001 quality standards.

Volvo Trucks Reveals Proprietary Volvo D13-LNG Engine

Volvo Trucks showcased its prototype D13-LNG engine, the first integrated natural gas solution for the North American market. The Volvo D13-LNG compression-ignition engine utilizes liquefied natural gas (LNG) to deliver increased range and significant fuel efficiency improvements compared with other natural gas-powered offerings. Customers will also be able to specify a Volvo I-Shift automated manual transmission.

Volvo's D13-LNG engine is a continuation of its comprehensive Blue Power natural gas strategy for North America, joining previously announced spark-ignited natural gas engine options for the Volvo VNM and VNL model daycabs.

"Volvo remains focused on developing new technologies to meet our customers' needs," said Goran Nyberg, president, Volvo Trucks North American Sales & Marketing. "The Volvo D13-LNG offers outstanding power and performance for the long haul while improving fuel efficiency. The D13-LNG will enable our customers to increase their driving range through an integrated Volvo powertrain system that offers seamless communication among components."

The Volvo 13-liter compression-ignition engine, utilizing a small amount of diesel fuel to ignite the LNG, delivers diesel-like durability and performance in terms of horsepower and torque. The D13-LNG also provides about a 20 percent fuel efficiency improvement compared with spark-ignition natural gas engines and an even greater fuel cost reduction when compared with diesel-powered engines. Volvo VNL daycabs powered by the Volvo D13-LNG engine will be available for order during the second half of 2013.

Volvo Natural Gas Vehicles in Production

As part of its Blue Power natural gas strategy for North America, Volvo previously announced two solutions powered by either compressed natural gas (CNG) or LNG, depending on the specification. The VNL daycab, equipped with a 12-liter Cummins-Westport ISX12 G engine, was introduced at the 2012 Mid-America Trucking Show. Full factory deliveries will begin during the third quarter of 2013. The other solution meeting demand for natural gas-powered trucks is a natural gas-powered VNM daycab, featuring a factory-installed 8.9 liter Cummins ISL G engine.

Volvo Trucks Introduces Innovative Suspension

Volvo Trucks launched its new Volvo Blade Air Suspension, designed to improve ride, handling and driver comfort. The Volvo Blade Air Suspension will be available on Volvo VNL and VNM models.

Field-tested by customers for more than three million miles, Volvo Blade Air Suspension features paired high-strength steel blades for each wheel end attached to the axle using the upper and lower axle seats. The design acts to control windup for smoother and more effective braking and improved traction especially at startup.

"The Volvo Blade Air Suspension is an example of Volvo's enduring committment to ensuring Volvo drivers are the most productive in the industry," said Frank Bio, Volvo Trucks product manager-trucks. "Ease of operation is a major factor in productivity as well as comfort for drivers, and if drivers are comfortable, they will be more productive on the job."

In traditional highway trailing arm suspensions, braking and tractive forces cause the vehicle to rise during acceleration and drop during braking as the axle twists, increasing driveline bearing stresses and vibration. The Volvo Blade Air Suspension design prevents excessive axle windup and resulting vibration, creating a more comfortable ride for the driver. Moreover, as a result of being less torque reactive, the suspension allows input torque ratings up to 2,050 lb.-ft. higher gross-combination weight ratings.

The blades of the Volvo Blade Air Suspension are stiff vertically and flex laterally, allowing them to track and reduce tire scuffing, improving tire wear. Customer field tests reported up to a 25 percent improvement in tire wear because of this aligment feature. Additionally, Volvo Blade Air Suspension is lighter weight and requires less maintenance than trailing arm suspensions. Huck U-bolts are used to connect the axle seats to the axle housing that never require re-torqueing. There are no wear pads to wear out or bushings that need lubrication or maintenance. Because of the unique construction of the suspension, axle alignment is easier on VBAS-equipped vehicles.

"Drivers are key to the success of our customers," Bio said. "With a smoother ride and easier handling, the Volvo Blade Air Suspension will provide greater driver comfort, making it easier for fleets to retain experienced drivers. With improvements in tire life and reduced maintenance, it also means Volvo customers will experience a significant return on investment."

Volvo Trucks Enhances Driver Comfort with Premium Factory-Installed Seat Options

Volvo Trucks announced that the Bose Ride® seat suspension system is now available for order as a factory-installed option on its VNM and VNL highway tractors. Volvo Trucks is the first North American truck manufacturer to offer factory installation of the Bose Ride system. Beginning mid-summer, Volvo will also become the first manufacturer to offer Sears Seating's new premier driver's seat, the Atlas® II, as a factory-installed option. Sears Seating's value-oriented Sentry models will also be available as an option on Volvo VNM and VNL models.

"Volvo is continuously looking to leverage the latest product offerings and technologies as we build on our reputation for driver comfort and help ensure Volvo drivers are the industry's most productive," said Frank Bio, Volvo Trucks product manager – trucks.

Bose Ride® Seat Suspension System

The Bose Ride system is the industry's only available solution that intelligently controls the motion of the driver's seat to cancel harmful vibrations that can lead to pain and injury – during and after the drive. The system counteracts up to 90 percent of the vibrations that drivers feel from the road, making it similar to riding in a high-end passenger car.

"We are excited about collaborating with a company that shares our commitment to providing fleets and drivers with the best tools to do their jobs effectively," Bio said. "The clear health and comfort benefits make the Bose Ride system a natural fit for Volvo trucks."

The Bose Ride system continuously senses, analyzes and counteracts forces from the road to provide truck drivers with significantly higher ride quality. As a result, drivers are more comfortable, with less fatigue, fewer headaches, reduced soreness and improved back health. Improved driver comfort and health can contribute to reduced driver turnover. The system was engineered to replace conventional air-ride truck seats with a Bose suspension base and an integrated, custom-designed seat top. It has the same form factor as a conventional seat and is compatible with common installation and maintenance procedures.

Sears Atlas® II and Sentry Models

Building on their original Atlas® model, the Atlas II by Sears Seating features new contemporary styling, improved seat extension and tilt and redesigned, intuitive controls. Designed for maximum comfort, durability and serviceability, the driver's seats can be customized from a variety of features, including heat, massage and swivel, and a wide range of colors in either cloth or leather fabric.

Sears Seating's Sentry models provide excellent comfort, quality and reliability, while offering value. The high-backed cloth driver's seats feature Sears Seating's ToggleLink Air Suspension® and adjustable air lumbar support.

Volvo VN Model Product Enhancements Increase Safety, Fuel Efficiency, Driver Comfort

Volvo Trucks announced three product enhancements to its VN models in North America as a part of its commitment to continuously improve the value of ownership for its customers. New Volvo air disc brakes, SmartWay-compliant aerodynamic chassis fairings and a mount for flat panel TVs were unveiled during the 2013 Mid-America Trucking Show.

"With every new product enhancement, Volvo demonstrates to our customers that the investment they make in Volvo trucks will continue to pay dividends for their business," said Frank Bio, Volvo Trucks product manager-trucks. "We are confident that these enhancements will make our trucks safer, more fuel efficient and comfortable, better meeting the needs of our customers."

Volvo Air Disc Brakes Help Increase Highway Safety

Building on Volvo's reputation as the industry leader in developing technologies to improve safety, Volvo's new air disc brakes reduce stopping distances from 355 to 250 feet.

Volvo air disc brakes also create smoother stops and reduced brake fading, providing a more comfortable ride and better value for customers. Longer brake pad life is another benefit, resulting in lower maintenance costs. Volvo air disc brakes will initially be available on all VN model front axles in August 2013, expanding to include all axles in 2014.

New Chassis Fairings Increase Fuel Efficiency

Volvo VNM models equipped with new aerodynamic chassis fairings are now SmartWay certifiable. The aerodynamic fairings optimize air flow around the cab and chassis, significantly improving fuel efficiency by reducing drag. The VNM chassis fairings are also completely removable for ease of maintenance.

TV Mounts Added to Cab for Driver Comfort

Driver comfort directly impacts driver productivity. In an effort to increase comfort, Volvo designed a TV mount available in its VNL models. The mount accommodates a 19-inch LCD TV on the Volvo VNL 630 and 670 models and a 22-inch LCD TV on the 730 and 780 models. The new mounts make it possible for the TV to be visible from both the upper and lower bunks without sacrificing storage space. The TV mount will be available November 2013.

Volvo Trucks North America