Trucking stakeholders support FET repeal

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Trucking news and briefs for Friday, July 23 2021:

Trucking coalition supports repeal of heavy truck tax

The Modernize the Truck Fleet, a coalition of trucking industry stakeholders – including the American Truck Dealers (ATD), American Trucking Associations and other groups – have announced their strong support for bipartisan legislation to repeal the 12% federal excise tax (FET) on the sale of heavy-duty trucks and trailers.

The bill, S. 2435, which was introduced by Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) – both members of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over transportation-related taxes – will help modernize America’s heavy-duty truck fleet and protect the 1.3 million jobs supported by the U.S. trucking industry, the group claimed. Repeal of the FET allows fleets to replace older heavy-duty trucks with newer, safer and greener trucks. The coalition is urging Congress to include the Young/Cardin legislation in the bipartisan infrastructure legislation.

"With most heavy-duty trucks over ten years old, passing this bill is crucial to help America modernize its aging truck fleet," said Steve Bassett, ATD chairman and dealer principal of General Truck Sales in Muncie, Indiana. 

The FET was first enacted by Congress in 1917 to help fund World War I and is the highest excise tax on a percentage basis that Congress levies on a product, often adding over $20,000 to the price of a new heavy-duty truck. The tax coupled with recent regulatory costs makes it more difficult for small businesses to afford a new truck.

Mark Parker, ATD NextGen chairman from Linthicum Heights, Maryland, added that "doing away with the FET will help small businesses replace older trucks with new trucks that have the latest safety features, which will reduce crashes and increase highway safety.”

Volvo debuts contract service 

Volvo Trucks North America has rolled out its Volvo Blue Contract service offering, a comprehensive maintenance program designed to improve uptime, assist in optimizing truck performance and simplify maintenance management for customers and dealers.

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The new Volvo Blue Contract provides a single premium service plan that replaces existing maintenance plans currently offered to customers, Volvo said.

With monthly or pre-paid billing options, Volvo said customers can pay either on a recurring basis or up front with the purchase of their truck, either billed directly or through their dealer. Volvo Financial Services (VFS) can bundle the Volvo Blue Contract with a truck payment on a single invoice. This total solution allows the customer to pay the cost of the maintenance contract over time, interest free, Volvo said.

 “Well-maintained trucks increase overall fleet uptime and reduce overall cost of ownership. And a truck that is regularly and proactively inspected and serviced at a Volvo Trucks dealership by professional, trained technicians will likely be a safer truck while in operation,” said Ashley Murickan, product marketing manager, Volvo Trucks North America. “Additionally, the Volvo Blue Contract and its flexible billing options elevate our maintenance offering while simplifying the business transaction, ultimately benefiting both the customer and dealer.”

Select preventative maintenance is included with the Volvo Blue Contract to provide further benefits to customers. Volvo said the plan allows customers to have full insight into their trucks’ service costs up front, providing confidence that their fleet maintenance is fully covered under the contract scope. Service schedules are tailored to specific vehicle applications in order to assist with the trucks being in top condition. This maximizes uptime, minimizes unnecessary stops at dealerships and reduces unforeseen repairs.

 Volvo adds its Blue Contract includes a 74-point inspection and oil analysis; all scheduled engine maintenance, including valve adjustments; all scheduled aftertreatment maintenance, including DPF cleaning; all scheduled transmission and scheduled axle maintenance; all scheduled chassis maintenance; fan belt tensioner and accessory drive belt tensioner replacements; and alternator coverage

Additional repairs, such as warranty work or more advanced diagnostics, can be completed under the same roof, so trucks do not need to be removed from operation for separate service visits, Volvo said.

Teamsters score another win within XPO

Drivers at XPO Logistics in Trenton, New Jersey, on Saturday, July 17 ratified their first contract with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, one week after their co-workers in Miami did the same, and the two groups now have their rights and protections in a legally binding contract for the first time.

“For the second time in one week, XPO workers ratified their first contract at XPO despite XPO management saying workers would never ratify a contract,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. “These two groups’ positive contract votes give other XPO workers the hope that they too can fight and win a more secure future as Teamsters.”

The group of 34 drivers at XPO in Trenton voted to join Local 701 in April 2017, but negotiations had been delayed.

“I’m happy to be joining our brothers in Miami who ratified their contract, and I look forward to expanding and improving upon this two-year agreement that gives us a strong foundation to build from,” said Bruce Ryan, a linehaul driver at the former Con-way Freight and XPO since 1996. “I also look forward to bringing more XPO members into the Teamsters Union so that they can also have their rights and protections in writing.” 

The contract includes “just-cause” protections, a grievance process, successorship language, job protection language and retirement protections, among other improvements.