|Friday Dec 06, 2013 - Nearly 2,000 brokers lose operating licenses following warning notice on higher surety bond limits
Mark B. Solomon
Nearly 2,000 property brokers have lost their operating authority this week after failing to comply with a new Congressionally mandated increase in surety bonds used to pay claims by truckers for late payment or nonpayment for their services, according to a carrier marketing website.
The license revocation process began Dec. 2 after the expiration of a 60-day grace period established by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for brokers to comply with the higher limits. FMCSA, a unit of the Department of Transportation, oversees the operations of freight brokers, among other tasks. The data came from My Carrier Resources, a Platte City, Mo.-based company run by Michael J. Curry, who said he has 37 years of transportation experience, 30 of them as a broker. Curry said he obtained the information on the revocations from the FMCSA website.
Language incorporated in the 2012 law re-authorizing the nation's transportation funding programs required brokers to post a $75,000 surety bond to guarantee payment to motor carriers if the broker fails to make good. The previous bond amount had been $10,000.
It is unclear how many brokers voluntarily surrendered their licenses versus how many had their authorities revoked. Warning notices to affected brokers were sent starting Nov. 1. These notices informed brokers that their authorities would be pulled if they didn't demonstrate compliance, according to Curry.
Notices were sent to approximately 9,000 brokers starting Nov. 1 and continuing from Nov. 4 through Nov. 8, Curry said. On Monday, 1,900 brokers had their operating authorities revoked, he said. That was followed by 22 on Tuesday, and 855 yesterday, Curry said. As of mid-day today, the FMCSA site reported three revocations, all of them voluntary, Curry said. The revocation period from the November round of notices is set to run until Dec. 10, Curry said.
Brokers would be eligible for reinstatement if they meet the higher bonding requirements, Curry said. It is estimated that there are 21,000 property brokers operating in the United States.
The battle over the bonding levels has pitted the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), and the American Trucking Associations against independent broker interests represented by the Association of Independent Property Brokers & Agents (AIPBA). Independent broker advocates said thousands of brokers unable to either come up with the higher upfront payment or obtain a bank letter of credit attesting to the availability of funds would be driven out of business or become agents of larger brokers. They also accused TIA of trying to corner the market on surety bond underwriting, a claim TIA has denied.
Supporters of the higher bond levels have argued that the increase was reasonable because the $10,000 threshold had remained in force for 30 years. They also maintained that it was part of a broader effort to ensure that the brokerage segment, which has long had a reputation for shady activity, would be populated by ethical, well-run, and well-capitalized firms.
AIPBA had been willing to agree to a $25,000 surety bond threshold as an inflation-cost adjustment. Carrier interests, meanwhile, were seeking bond levels well into six figures.
Last week, a federal appeals court in Atlanta denied an AIPBA request for a temporary stay of the FMCSA's action.
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|Thursday Dec 05, 2013 - Crews recover man buried under grain
by KING 5 News Staff
ROY, Wash. -- Crews have found the man killed in a grain silo Wednesday night.
Reaching the remains of Steve Green, 44-year-old man, in the grain silo collapse took longer than expected, but crews worked non-stop till they found him.
Green leaves behind a wife, three daughters and a son.
Nearly two full days after a corn silo collapsed at the Wilcox Family Farm feed mill, vacuum trucks have removed nearly 500 tons of spilled corn.
Photos of grain silo collapse at Roy mill
The man and another employee at the Wilcox Feed Mill were doing maintenance outside the bin Monday when it collapsed, damaging two other bins and shifting an office building off of its foundation. Fire officials previously estimated 50 tons of grain had spilled, but later found out it was much more than that.
Two other employees managed to escape the office before it filled with the corn.
Officials with South Pierce Fire and Rescue also used a 125-foot excavator to hold the collapsed bin so searchers can reach the man.
Family members of the employee have been on site practically non-stop.
Green is a former Marine and so South Pierce Fire and Rescue plans to have members of the military remove his remains from the mill so they can give him a respectful procession off the property.
Wilcox Family Farms cited for safety violations
Records released Tuesday by the state Department of Labor and Industries show the mill's owner, Wilcox Family Farms, was cited earlier in the year for six “serious” safety violations. The company was assessed a $10,000 penalty after a June review.
Inspectors cited the company for having inadequate rescue services around a corn tank and for failing to fully inform employees of the hazardous conditions.
Wilcox Family Farms supplies eggs throughout the Northwest.
KING 5's Jake Whittenberg and Drew Mikkelsen contributed to this report.
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|Thursday Dec 05, 2013 - Gavilon to buy Iowa-based Lincolnway Energy distiller's grains
Dec 3 (Reuters) - Ethanol producer Lincolnway Energy said it has struck a deal to sell the distiller's grains produced at its ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa, to Gavilon Ingredients LLC.
Distiller's grains, a byproduct of converting corn into ethanol fuel, are used to make animal feed.
Lincolnway, in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, said that under the Dec. 2 agreement, which takes effect Jan. 1, Gavilon is required to purchase all of the distiller's grains produced at the ethanol plant.
The agreement can be terminated after its initial term by either Lincolnway or Gavilon on 60 days' prior written notice, or in the event of a bankruptcy.
Gavilon was acquired by Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp earlier this year.
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|Wednesday Dec 04, 2013 - Woman Admits to Double Brokering Scheme
A woman has pleaded guilty to charges in U.S. District Court in Macon, Ga., for her involvement in a double-brokering freight scam.
On Nov. 20, Pauline Robinson-Kirkland, of Donalsonville, Ga., admitted to mail fraud. She was indicted in July 2012.
The investigation revealed that Robinson-Kirkland used the Internet to access websites where senders advertised loads of commercial freight available for transport, according to the Office of the U.S. DOT Inspector General.
She bid on these loads of freight using the names of her various companies, which are listed as having broker authority with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and was awarded the bids.
Robinson-Kirkland led the sender to believe her trucking business would deliver the freight for the contracted price and the sender of the freight would send her payment at the agreed upon price. However, after accepting the bid, she would immediately re-advertise the job, using a different company name.
She accepted bids from legitimate trucking companies and had them deliver the freight from the sender to the intended destination, never disclosing that she had arranged for the sender to send payment to her. This resulted in the actual freight hauler never being paid.
Robinson-Kirkland has yet to be sentenced.
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|Tuesday Dec 03, 2013 - Enforcement begins on increased broker bond amount
By Land Line staff http://www.landlinemag.com/
Starting Dec. 1 enforcement has begun on a new regulation mandating all brokers and freight forwarders have a $75,000 bond.
The new regulation, which upped the broker bond from $10,000 to $75,000, was enacted as part of the highway funding law, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21 Century Act, or MAP-21, which was signed in July 2012.
All brokers and freight forwarders who engage in interstate brokerage or freight forwarding operations must register with FMCSA reflecting the new minimum security amount of $75,000. Motor carriers who occasionally broker loads must register both as motor carriers and as brokers, according to the FMCSA guidance.
The increased bond amount went into effect on Oct. 1, but the agency allowed a 60-day phase in period to allow the industry to complete all necessary filings.
The maximum civil penalty for brokers and freight forwarders who engage in interstate operations and who do not register with FMCSA is $10,000.
Before the implementation of the regulation, the Association of Independent Property Brokers and Agents filed a civil lawsuit followed by a petition for review of the regulation in an attempt to block the increase of the bond amount.
The AIPBA’s civil lawsuit filed against the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in July was dismissed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District in Ocala, Fla., on Nov. 12. This was after a joint stipulation of dismissal was filed on Nov. 8 by the AIPBA and Anthony Foxx, in his capacity as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, as well as FMCSA, with each party agreeing to pay its own fees and costs.
The petition for review was filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on Nov. 14 following the dismissal of the civil lawsuit. Along with the petition for review, the broker group also filed a motion for an emergency injunction in an attempt to delay the Dec. 1 enforcement deadline.
The court denied the emergency injunction petition on Nov. 26. The group’s petition for review still remains before the court, although not on an expedited schedule.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has been supportive of upping the bond amount from $10,000, which was set before deregulation before 1980, back when there were fewer than 100 brokers in the U.S.
“By increasing the bond amount, in addition to other changes, the bond companies will better scrutinize the brokers applying for bonds to assure themselves that the bond won’t be abused and that truckers using the broker will be paid,” OOIDA Executive President Todd Spencer has stated about the new broker bond amount.
Copyright © OOIDA
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|Monday Dec 02, 2013 - Amazon Tests Drones for Home Delivery
E-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. is developing aerial drones that it said could deliver products directly to consumers’ homes within the next five years.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed the unmanned aircraft project Dec. 1 on CBS program “60 Minutes.” The vehicles could deliver up to five pounds in a 10-mile radius of Amazon’s 96 warehouses within 30 minutes, Bezos said.
“It will work, and it will happen, and it’s gonna be a lot of fun,” he said, according to Bloomberg News.
The Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration would have to approve the use of drones, Bloomberg said. Congress has directed it to write regulations to allow such vehicles in United States airspace by 2015.
Drones are currently used to deliver textbooks in Australia, and an experiment using them in under way in China.
In addition to the faster time to deliver products, drones could deliver a supply chain with a smaller environmental impact, Bezos said. “It’s very green,” he said, according to Bloomberg. “It’s better than driving trucks around.”
In November, Amazon teamed up with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver packages on Sundays.
By Transport Topics
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|Monday Dec 02, 2013 - Going Once, Going Twice, Sold!
MONTREAL, QC— You can name your own price on more than 2,900 equipment items and trucks at the Ritchie Bros. unreserved public auction, which will take place in Montreal on December 5 and 6.
"We are selling a huge selection of equipment in this auction—more than 400 pieces—from lifting and material handling equipment to light and heavy construction equipment, along with attachments and more," said André Véronneau, president and CEO of Simplex Equipment Rental, a Canadian rental company with more than 40 locations in Quebec and Ontario.
"With Ritchie Bros. we are able to quickly turn our idle equipment into cash and put that money towards upgrading our rental fleet with new equipment in order to improve our customer service," Véronneau said.
Bids can be made in person at the auction site, live online and by proxy.
Buyers can choose from over 150 truck tractors, 70 hydraulic excavators, 40 wheel loaders, 30 articulated dump trucks, 20 crawler tractors and more—and every item will be sold without minimum bids or reserve prices.
"With our auctions, sellers are able to reach a massive global audience of potential buyers; meanwhile buyers are provided an unmatched selection of used and unused equipment all in one place for them to inspect and compare—either on site or online," said Jessy Cantin, Regional Sales Manager, Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers.
Also coming up is a Toronto auction featuring 2,000 equipment items and trucks and an auction in Truro, NS.
Here are the details:
Toronto – December 9, 10
• 45 hydraulic excavators (including an unused 2012 John Deere 350G LC)
• 30 agricultural tractors (including a 2012 John Deere 8335R MFWD)
• 20 wheel loaders (including a 2011 Caterpillar 966H)
• 25 crawler tractors (including a 2010 John Deere 750J LT)
• 105 truck tractors and more
• For more information about this auction visit: www.rbauction.com/toronto
Truro – December 17
• wheel loaders (including a 2009 Caterpillar 988H & a Letourneau L950 Pitbull)
• rock trucks (including five 2007 Komatsu HD465-7EO 55-ton)
• hydraulic excavators (including two 2009 Caterpillar 365CL)
• drills (including 2008 Atlas Copco DML-XL1200 crawler blast hole drill)
• trucks and more
• For more information about this auction visit: www.rbauction.com/truro
Interested sellers can contact: +1.450.464.2888 (for Montreal, QC), +1.905.857.2422 (for Toronto, ON), and +1.902.895.3700 (for Truro, NS).
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|Monday Dec 02, 2013 - Agriculture's 'dark side' is highly overstated
Article by: MIKE FERNANDEZ
A recent commentary deeply misunderstood Cargill’s mission.
Bonnie Blodgett’s commentary “Agriculture’s deal with the dark side” (Nov. 24) stokes unwarranted fear of “industrial agriculture” and mischaracterizes Cargill’s role in agriculture worldwide. For one thing, 96 percent of crop-producing farms in the United States are family-owned, and they represent 87 percent of all agricultural value. For another, Cargill (where I work) is committed, like most of these farmers, to improved environmental stewardship and land management. We have many efforts underway to pursue sustainable production across the globe working with groups like World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy.
In the Colombian case mentioned in Blodgett’s essay, a Cargill subsidiary has made significant investments that are delivering direct benefits to the Colombian people and their domestic food security. The investments are building sustainable farms and farming infrastructure in a remote area with great agricultural potential but a long history of underinvestment.
The farms today are producing corn, soybeans and rice, 100 percent of which stays in Colombia, improving the country’s food security and reducing its high reliance on food imports. Blodgett gives life to rumor when she says Oxfam believes Cargill has plans to export this food. Nothing could be further from the truth. Colombia is a net-food-importing country. It imports 80 percent of its corn and soybean consumption, which means the local market will long be the best home for local production.
Although Blodgett said we gave “no explanation beyond a brief news release,” we have provided a great deal of information on our website about our role in growing more food for Colombia.
Our website also reports on how Cargill has been working for many years with millions of smallholder farmers around the world. We help them improve the crop quality and yields of their own land, raise their productivity and incomes, offer a market for their crops, and invest in the health and education of their communities.
Another fact that could have been readily checked is our work with the World Wildlife Fund. Blodgett’s essay states that Cargill “apparently hasn’t sought … advice” from WWF leader Jason Clay. In fact, not only have we sought Clay’s advice, we have a partnership with WWF to define better environmental management practices for key commodities. Moreover, WWF has shared its views with us in many meetings and Clay specifically in forums with Cargill’s leaders.
Can the largest, most-respected environmental nonprofits be wrong about the merits of public-private partnerships? Any read of recent literature would suggest that if we are to sustain important places like the Amazon biome, it will take all of us.
Blodgett’s most illogical claim is that Cargill may “pursue its goals with little government interference or public scrutiny” because it is a private company. We are subject to and comply with the laws and regulations of all of the 67 countries in which we operate — and gladly so, because laws are the foundation of civil societies. Beyond that, we publicly report our financial results and regularly discuss our investment and operational activities. We understand that today’s world demands greater transparency about where our food comes from and how it is produced. At Cargill we do not shrink from this scrutiny; we embrace it.
Through the years, despite the efforts of those who fear science, food production has become more global and efficient, and, as a result, more people have access to a wider variety of safe food at a relatively low cost. But farmers and Cargill know that to continue to build on these advances and feed an additional 2 billion people in the coming decades, we will need to do so responsibly and sustainably.
Mike Fernandez is vice president for corporate affairs at Cargill.
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|Monday Dec 02, 2013 - Wis. trucker faces sentencing in Koch cyberattack
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Wisconsin truck driver who joined a cyberattack on Wichita-based Koch Industries will learn his fate for the onslaught that briefly took the company's website offline.
Eric Rosol, of Black Creek, Wis., faced sentencing Monday in U.S. District Court in Wichita on one misdemeanor count of accessing a protected computer.
Prosecutors agreed in Rosol's plea deal to recommend a sentence at the low end of federal guidelines.
Koch's website was offline for about 15 minutes during the February 2011 attack organized by the hacking group Anonymous.
The parties agreed the direct loss to Koch was less than $5,000. But Koch contends it spent $183,000 for a consulting group when it learned of the planned attack.
U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren will decide how much restitution Rosol must pay.
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|Sunday Dec 01, 2013 - Suppliers say they'll pass down Pennsylvania fuel tax hike
By Marc Levy
The Associated Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania's new transportation law will raise fuel taxes Jan. 1 and the companies that supply gas and diesel in Pennsylvania say razor-thin profit margins leave them little choice but to pass the entire cost increase to the pump.
John Reilly, president of Reilly & Sons in the Philadelphia suburb of Exton, says fuel distributors like his can't just absorb the cost of doing business.
Gov. Tom Corbett and lawmakers who supported the bill have given confusing messages, including the idea that it shifts the tax burden to big oil companies that won't pass it down.
On Jan. 1, taxes will rise by 9.5 cents per gallon of unleaded and 13 cents per gallon of diesel. In the short-term, at least, consumers are expected to see dropping gas prices this winter.
The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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