Trucking news and briefs for Friday, Jan. 20, 2023:

Refinery shutdown prompts eight-state hours of service waiver

The unanticipated shutdown of the Suncor refinery in Colorado, severe winter storms and high demand for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel have prompted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to declare a regional emergency, waiving certain hours of service rules for carriers providing direct support to the emergency.

The Suncor refinery was shut down following a fire that broke out on Christmas Eve and injured two workers. According to the company, the fire was put out in a timely manner, but the refinery will likely be down until March after the completion of maintenance.

FMCSA said its regional emergency declaration “addresses the emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel and provides necessary relief.”

Drivers hauling those fuels in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming are exempt from Part 395.3 (maximum driving time) of the hours of service regulations through Feb. 15, or until the end of the emergency, whichever is earlier.

Aggregates hauler John D. Adams Trucking acquired

Armour Excavating, a provider of excavating, cedar clearing, and aggregate delivery services, announced it has acquired John D. Adams Trucking (JDAT), an aggregate delivery trucking company based in Kerrville, Texas.

“In looking for a potential acquirer of my business, Armour Excavating checked all the boxes for me,” said John “JD” Adams, Founder of JDAT. “They have an intense focus on customer satisfaction, are loyal to their employees, and they operate some of the newest and best maintained equipment. I look forward to remaining involved in the business and helping Armour Excavating grow in the Kerrville area.”

According to FMCSA records, Armour, also based in Kerrville, operates six trucks, and JDAT operates four trucks.

“We are really excited to be combining the operations of JDAT with Armour Excavating,” said Armour owner Stephen Day. “It is a real win-win situation for our combined customers and employees. JD has always had a reputation for running a high-quality business and delivering on his promises.”

Nikola launches first hydrogen fuel cell truck mobile fueler

Nikola Corporation announced that it has developed an innovative, heavy-duty, 700 bar (10,000 psi) hydrogen mobile fueler capable of direct fueling hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).

Nikola’s mobile fueler program includes its own mobile fuelers, as well as a number of third-party mobile fuelers, which will provide Nikola’s customers with a variety of flexible fueling options. 

“Nikola has spent the greater part of two years developing a flexible mobile fueling solution which cools and compresses hydrogen to rapidly fill 700 bar FCEV heavy-duty trucks,” said Nikola Corporation President and CEO Michael Lohscheller. “Coupled with Nikola’s hydrogen tube trailer, with a capacity of 960 kg, Nikola’s mobile fueler can refuel customer trucks back-to-back. This will deliver flexible hydrogen fueling solutions for our customers starting in 2023 and will complement Nikola’s permanent hydrogen fueling stations which are being developed.”

Nikola’s first mobile fueler has completed commissioning and testing and has been released for market operation. Nikola has additional hydrogen mobile fuelers being commissioned in Q1 2023.

Nikola also recently announced that it has received a California Air Resources Board (CARB) Zero-Emission Powertrain Executive Order that is a requirement for the Nikola Tre FCEV to be eligible for CARB’s Hybrid and Zero Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) program.

Upon final HVIP approval, purchasers of the Nikola Tre FCEV in 2023 may be able to qualify for California’s state-based incentive valued at $240,000 per truck; $270,000 per truck for drayage fleets; or up to $288,000 per truck for fleets with 10 trucks or less, performing drayage operations, and located within a disadvantaged community area. Eligible non-drayage fleets may secure up to 30 HVIP vouchers, and drayage fleets may secure up to 50 vouchers.

In addition to the funding provided by HVIP, purchasers of Nikola’s Tre FCEVs will also qualify for an additional $40,000 clean commercial vehicle tax credit in 2023 from the federal government due to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Navistar names new head of strategy, transformation

Tobias Glitterstam has been named Senior Vice President, Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer at Navistar. This new role will report to Mathias Carlbaum, President and CEO.

As a member of Navistar’s executive leadership team, Glitterstam will be tasked with strategy implementation, and he will accelerate sustainability efforts. He will also lead corporate strategy, communications, and government relations, along with a newly established team for mobility solutions.

Mobility solutions will capture market opportunities in the future of zero-emissions transportation, with an immediate priority on charging solutions. The team will emphasize Navistar’s position within transportation, as well as define the company’s role in the autonomous ecosystem.

“Tobias has led market expansion and strategic business growth initiatives with companies across North America,” Carlbaum said. “His background in green energy, sustainable commercial transportation and logistics solutions makes him well-suited to guide the Navistar team in implementing our strategy and furthering our progress on our journey to accelerate the impact of sustainable mobility.” 

Most recently, Glitterstam served as Vice President and Head of the Americas Region for Business Sweden and the Swedish Trade Commissioner to the U.S. He consulted enterprises on new markets and segments, strategic innovation, market partnerships, and mergers and acquisitions. In addition, he steered government affairs, investment programs and business promotion efforts, in areas such as Smart Cities, Industry 4.0, future transportation and sustainability.

Volvo invests in autonomous trucking tech firm

Volvo Group Venture Capital AB announced it has invested in Waabi Innovation, a Canadian founded company developing autonomous trucking technology.

“The company Waabi is using advanced artificial intelligence technology to test, assess skills, and ultimately teach a virtual driver to maneuver safely and efficiently in a commercial-ready autonomous trucking solution,” said says Martin Witt, President of Volvo Group Venture Capital. “We are impressed by what they have accomplished and see that Volvo Group can add considerable strategic value to the development of their business. We are currently exploring ways to cooperate,”

Volvo Group said it sees that fully autonomous trucking is key to provide additional capacity, better safety and improved efficiency but also support drivers in tiresome routes. 

“Partnerships and investments are key to commercializing autonomous transport solutions at scale. We welcome Volvo Group’s decision to invest in companies like Waabi who are building the new transport ecosystem,” says Nils Jaeger, President of Volvo Autonomous Solutions.

Waabi is developing next-generation artificial intelligence technology to solve autonomy at scale. The company recently unveiled the Waabi Driver, its core autonomous trucking tech, designed for large-scale commercialization and safe deployment.

Ascend CEO named Georgia Titan 100

Michael McLary, President and CEO of Ascend (CCJ Top 250, No. 143), has been named a 2023 Georgia Titan 100 by Titan CEO. This is the second consecutive year McLary has been named to the Titan 100.

The Titan 100 program recognizes Georgia’s Top 100 CEOs and C-level executives. 

Collectively the 2023 Georgia Titan 100 and their companies employ upwards of 118,000 individuals and generate more than $36 billion dollars in annual revenues. This year’s honorees will be published in a limited-edition Titan 100 book and profiled exclusively online. They will be honored at an awards ceremony on April 27.

“I am truly honored to be included in such a distinguished list as the Titan 100,” said McLary. “However, being included is a credit to the hard-working and dedicated team members at Ascend.”