BP’s acquisition of TA takes another step forward

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Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, April 12, 2023:

BP’s acquisition of TA clears regulatory hurdle

TravelCenters of America’s pending acquisition by BP Products North America has officially cleared the federally required 30-day waiting period for large mergers and acquisitions imposed by the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (HSR Act).

The waiting period expired at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 10, without action by the Federal Trade Commission.

The Special Meeting of Shareholders to approve the pending acquisition of TA by BP is scheduled for Wednesday, May 10, at 9:30 a.m. Eastern. TA shareholders of record as of the close of business on March 23, 2023, will be eligible to vote at the Special Meeting. Subject to shareholder approval, the transaction is expected to close by May 15.

Under the terms of the pending transaction, BP will acquire all of the outstanding shares of TA common stock for $86.00 per share in cash. The transaction price represents an 84% premium to TA’s average trading price of $46.68 over the 30 days ended February 15, 2023, the date the BP merger agreement was signed. The total equity value of the transaction is approximately $1.3 billion.

[Related: TA readies to close deal with BP]

House measure would overturn latest heavy-duty emissions rule from EPA

A joint resolution filed in the U.S. House April 6 would overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest emissions regulations targeting heavy-duty trucks beginning with model year 2027.

EPA’s latest regulations, finalized in December, will tighten tailpipe NOx limits to a level 80%-plus below the current standard and reduce the particulate matter limit by 50%. The agency also will require that OEMs extend warranties to 450,000 miles from 100,000 and useful life limits to 650,000 miles from 435,000 miles.

The joint resolution, filed by Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas), reads that “Congress disapproves the rule” from EPA, adding that “such rule shall have no force or effect.”

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska) filed a similar resolution in the Senate on Feb. 9. Nehls’ resolution in the House was filed with no co-sponsors, but Fisher’s in the Senate has 36 co-sponsors.

[Related: Trucking groups slam 'challenging' new EPA rule that slashes truck emissions limits]

Utah trucking company owners sentenced for bribery scheme

Two individuals were recently convicted and sentenced for their roles in a bribery scheme to defraud FedEx Ground.

Davor Kovacevic and Zlate Balulovski, owners of several trucking companies in Utah, were convicted of wire fraud and money laundering and sentenced each to four years of probation, a $200 special assessment, and a total of $308,049 in restitution. Additionally, Kovacevic was ordered to forfeit $549,034, and Balulovski was ordered to forfeit $554,967. Kovacevic, Balulovski, and co-conspirator Ryan Mower were indicted in October 2019.

According to the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, around April 2012, Kovacevic and Balulovski began bribing Mower, a line-haul manager for FedEx Ground (FXG). Kovacevic and Balulovski asked for and received favors, preferential treatment and assistance in defrauding FXG, OIG said.

The co-conspirators also used Mower's position to manipulate FXG's process for awarding new truck routes to FXG contract service providers, falsify mileage reports so that FXG overpaid the defendants' companies, and receive payments for “ghost routes” that they never completed.

As a result of the scheme, the defendants' companies received approximately $21,373,873 from FXG and paid Mower approximately $165,000 in bribes.

Another former FXG contractor was sentenced in February for being a part of the scheme.

Pitt Ohio partners with AI platform to improve operational efficiency

Pitt Ohio (CCJ Top 250, No. 52) announced it is deploying Maven’s unified P&D dispatching, driver workflow, line haul, and ELD/telematics platform across its LTL fleet of more than 1,700 trucks and 25 service centers. 

After an extensive review, Pitt Ohio determined that Maven provides a significantly better dispatching experience with grid and map interfaces and productivity-enhancing tools, allowing dispatchers to quickly rearrange stops and message drivers. The company also expects to improve the driver-to-dispatcher ratio, use less fuel, and utilize Maven’s performance data for driver and employee coaching. 

Drivers and customers will benefit from Maven’s accurate location data and geofencing, and Pitt Ohio anticipates gaining a better understanding of costing data, stop times, and route deviations.

Maven’s app with HOS tracking, document imaging, and P&D features such as automatic lunch breaks will improve driver safety and compliance, simplifying the driver experience so that drivers can spend less time on their devices. 

“Our standards are extremely high, and Maven provides best-in-class technology for LTL, allowing us to run a safer, more profitable fleet,” said Chuck Hammel III, President of Pitt Ohio. “Maven is helping us improve the customer experience with reduced claims and a happy, safe fleet of drivers, and the benefits will multiply from here.”

Roadmaster Drivers School opening new Texas location

Roadmaster Drivers School announced Tuesday it is opening a new Houston, Texas, location.

The new school is Roadmaster’s fourth location in Texas and could be a tremendous opportunity for Houston residents who may be unemployed, underemployed, or looking for a career change, the company said.

“On average, completing CDL training classes takes about a month,” said Brad Ball, president of Roadmaster Drivers School. “We thoroughly prepare you every step of the way, including hands-on experience driving a truck and classroom training. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify.”

A grand opening ceremony will be held at the new facility on May 18. The new school is located at 1224 Normandy Street, Houston, Texas 77015.