Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, July 6, 2023:
Shareholders approve U.S. Xpress acquisition
Shareholders of U.S. Xpress last week approved the Chattanooga, Tennessee-based carrier's acquisition by Knight-Swift Transportation (CCJ Top 250, No. 5), formally closing on July 1 the $808 million transaction announced in March. Upon the deal's closing, U.S. Xpress was de-listed from the New York Stock Exchange.
“We are grateful for the efforts of so many who worked diligently to bring about such a significant transaction in the truckload industry. Against the current backdrop of a particularly difficult business environment, the chance to add one of the largest brands in our industry, with significant opportunity to improve earnings, gain customers and reach more professional drivers, is a compelling part of our plan to drive higher highs and higher lows across successive truckload freight cycles," said Knight-Swift CEO Dave Jackson, commented. "As we have engaged with more of the U.S. Xpress organization since the announcement, we have even more confidence that our combined efforts will lead to achievement of the profitability targets we communicated."
Jackson said cross-functional synergy teams made up of leaders from Knight, Swift, and U.S. Xpress are off to a great start collaborating on plans to share best practices, improve operations and leverage economies of scale.
"While the truckload part of the organization focuses on achieving the goals we have laid out for U.S. Xpress, our LTL and M&A teams remain focused on our strategic priority of continuing to build out a nationwide LTL network," he added.
Teamsters ratify new five-year ABF contract
International Brotherhood of Teamsters members at ABF Freight, a subsidiary of ArcBest (CCJ Top 250, No. 18) on June 30 overwhelmingly ratified a new national contract to avert a strike. The employees also agreed to 25 of 27 supplemental agreements.
Teamsters said the two rejected supplements, the Southern Garage and the Western States Pickup & Delivery, also reached new tentative agreements after the Teamsters met with ABF, and will be voted on within the next week.
The five-year master agreement provides members with improvements to wages, benefits, and working conditions, among other gains, Teamsters said.
“This national agreement will serve as the model for the rest of the freight industry. It will set the tone for national freight contracts moving forward. The gains made at the table will be long-lasting and far-reaching,” said Sean M. O’Brien, Teamsters General President and Chair of the Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee (TNFINC).
Ballots were counted today after two weeks of in-person voting. The agreement covers approximately 8,600 members at 137 local unions throughout the U.S.
Highlights of the new contract include:
- Wage increases: Members received a $3.50 per hour raise effective July 1, with a total of $6.50 in raises over the life of the agreement. The wage increases in year one alone surpass those of the entire previous contract, providing meaningful improvements for members.
- Expanded benefits: MLK Day is added as a new paid holiday, recognizing its significance. Starting Jan. 1, 2024, two additional annual paid sick days will be added, increasing the minimum number of paid sick days from five to seven.
- Health, welfare and pension contributions: The company is required to increase its contributions to health, welfare, and pension plans, with a total of $4.46 per hour of additional contributions over the term of the agreement.
- Work protections: The national contract includes provisions to protect members’ rights and well-being. It prohibits the use of invasive technology and ensures new guardrails against the use of autonomous vehicles or freight transportation without drivers/operators, safeguarding job security.
Colorado fuel haulers get HOS waiver
The Colorado State Patrol has issued a temporary hours of service exemption for fuel haulers in the state, effective through July 15.
The exemption only applies to drivers hauling heating fuels, propane, natural gas, gasoline, diesel and aviation fuels, as well as non-blended ethanol products intended for use in the production of gasoline products.
“The Colorado State Patrol recognizes the importance of timely and consistent heating and transportation fuel deliveries in Colorado for Public Safety Functions as well as consumer needs,” CSP said in the exemption notice.
Drivers are required to continue logging their hours of service during the exemption period, CSP added.
Volta enters long-term sourcing agreement with ZF
European electric truck manufacturer Volta Trucks has announced a long-term agreement with supplier ZF for some of the core systems and components in the all-electric Volta Zero.
ZF technologies fitted to the Volta Zero have been designed and configured specifically for commercial vehicle use and form part of the key systems, Volta said, including the OnGuardACTIVE Advanced Emergency Braking System; Electronic Braking System, including the brake pedal box; ESCsmart Electronic Stability Control; and OnHand Electro-Pneumatic Handbrake. The OnLaneALERT Lane Departure Warning System, which enhances safety and helps to prevent unintended lane drifts, is also sourced from ZF. Additionally, ZF supplies components in the steering system including the steering column and the steering gear.
Additionally, the independent front suspension (IFS) axle system sourced from ZF for the Volta Zero supports the low cabin for ease of ingress and improved driver vision, while allowing independent wheel travel, improving ride comfort, vehicle handling and maneuverability. In addition, ZF’s OptiRide Electronically Controlled Air Suspension system fitted to the Volta Zero supports daily vehicle operations including docking and loading procedures through automatic and manual chassis height adjustments for improved driver safety, efficiency and comfort.