Archive for the 'National' Category

Be Safe. Three Big Excavator No-no’s from Volvo

A quick refresher on getting more out of your excavators, safely, from Volvo Construction Equipment

 

ARTBA President Pete Ruane Comments: Trump Plan Might Be Stalled, But Infrastructure Progress Isn’t 

Trump Plan Might Be Stalled, But Infrastructure Progress Isn’t 

 

By

 ARTBA President Pete Ruane 

Pete Ruane

The “death” of the Trump infrastructure package has been widely pronounced by the chattering class.  The obituary writers have, however, missed the important reality that the underlying goals of the initiative are in fact moving forward.

A significant component of the administration’s infrastructure plan is to remove regulatory burdens and hurdles hindering the delivery of transportation and other infrastructure projects.  This part of the president’s agenda is surging full steam ahead.

President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) last August calling for a two-year permitting deadline.  The EO  establishes a goal of identifying one federal agency to be the point of contact for each project’s regulatory approval instead of the dysfunctional agency hopping project sponsors currently suffer from the status quo.

The president also directed all federal agencies to establish task forces to identify regulations in need of modification or outright repeal.

These developments may not earn national headlines, but they are certainly meaningful to the transportation construction industry.

While the president has acknowledged his $1.5 trillion infrastructure investment plan—that relies primarily on non-federal resources and financing—is not likely to advance during 2018, Republicans and Democrats continue to demonstrate they support increased infrastructure investment.

The FY 2018 appropriations process—finalized in March—delivered a total of $6.5 billion in federal transportation investment above already authorized amounts.  The biggest winner of this boost was the federal highway program, which received $2.5 billion on top of the $900 million increase directed by the 2015 FAST Act.  Airport infrastructure, public transportation, and intermodal grants also received significant increases.

The House and Senate are currently working on FY 2019 transportation funding bills that continue this trend. The House is proposing an additional $4.25 billion in highway investment, and the Senate is pushing for $3.3 billion on top of the FAST Act’s $1 billion bump.  Both proposals again would provide additional resources for transit, airport and other transportation improvements totaling almost $7 billion.

The boosts stem from a two-year budget agreement reached between bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate and President Trump in February that, among other things, calls for a minimum of $10 billion a year additionally in FY 2018 and 2019 for infrastructure investments.

Congress is also expected to approve a multi-year reauthorization of the federal aviation programs by the end of this year.  Both the House and Senate proposals would authorize increased airport infrastructure investments.

The good news is that this is real growth in federal transportation investment, which has been largely absent since the 2009 stimulus law.  The bad news is that without some additional action by Congress and the Trump administration, transportation funding levels will fall back to authorized levels in FY 2020.

Furthermore, 2020 is the last year the FAST Act’s general fund transfers will be supplementing existing Highway Trust Fund revenues.  That means we are looking at one of three outcomes: highway and transit spending cuts of an estimated 40 percent; more budget gimmicks; or a real trust fund revenue fix.

The opportunity to secure additional transportation infrastructure investment this year, along with the pressing need to permanently resolve the Highway Trust Fund’s revenue deficit argues for continued pressure.  Anyone who tells you nothing is going to happen in 2018 needs to know the real story and consequences of sitting out the coming months.

For more information on ARTBA visit:  https://www.artba.org/

Michelin and Camso recently reached an agreement whereby Michelin will acquire Camso

Michelin and Camso recently reached an agreement whereby Michelin will acquire Camso, headquartered in Magog, Quebec, Canada, and whereby the two companies’ off-the-road (OTR) operations will be combined to form a new division to be managed from Quebec. Led by a set of common values and a strong tradition of innovation and R&D at both Michelin and Camso, and backed by high-quality teams, the strategic partnership makes the newly created entity the world leader in OTR mobility.

Reporting net sales of US$1 billion, Camso has been designing, manufacturing and marketing OTR mobility solutions since 1982. Camso is a market leader in rubber tracks for farm equipment and snowmobiles, and in solid and bias tires for material handling equipment. It also ranks among the top three players in the construction market, in track and tire solutions for small heavy equipment. Leveraging its technological leadership in tracks and related systems, its competitive manufacturing footprint, particularly in Sri Lanka, and strong customer awareness of its CAMSO and SOLIDEAL brands, Camso has demonstrated its ability to grow rapidly, expanding at an average pace of 7% per year since 2012.

By joining forces with Camso, Michelin will create the world’s number one OTR market player, headquartered in Quebec. The business will benefit from the expertise of Camso’s management team and Michelin’s long-standing presence in Canada, both in Laval, Quebec and in Nova Scotia. As world leader, the new entity will represent more than double the net sales of Camso, supported by 26 plants and approximately 12,000 employees and will benefit from sustainably dynamic markets.

Thanks to the complementary positioning of the two companies’ product and service offerings, the transaction is expected to deliver the following benefits:

  • In marketing and sales:
  • In the agricultural market, the creation of a unique player providing its customers with a comprehensive range of premium radial tires and tracks.
  • In the construction market, Camso will reinforce Michelin’s offering with its bias tires and tracks offerings.
  • In the material handling equipment market, Michelin will leverage Camso’s renowned SOLIDEAL and CAMSO brands to become the market leader in solid tires.

The deployment of the new entity’s offer will be accelerated by the complementarity of both Michelin and Camso’s distribution networks.

  • In technology:

Cooperation between Camso and Michelin researchers will bolster the Group’s innovation capacity in tracks and airless tires. Cross-fertilization of R&D expertise will enable the teams to consolidate the Group’s position as a global technological leader in support of sustainable mobility, as Michelin’s headway in terms of long-lasting performance of tires is a differentiating factor and a key strength for reducing its environmental footprint. In addition, Michelin’s technological breakthroughs in reducing soil compaction while maintaining superior traction, for example, will contribute to the products that Camso develops.

  • In manufacturing:

A strong manufacturing presence of Camso in emerging markets, particularly in Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

Jean-Dominique Senard, Chief Executive Officer of the Michelin group, said: “Michelin and Camso have many values in common. This acquisition is a wonderful mutual opportunity. Michelin will benefit from all of Camso’s skills in the off-the-road mobility markets and Camso from the full range of Michelin’s expertise in the specialty markets.”

“Joining up with Michelin’s off-the-road teams is a fantastic opportunity for Camso because of the similarity of our cultures as well as our growth potential,” said Pierre Marcouiller, Executive Chairman of Camso. “Camso will achieve its ambition to become the global off-the-road market leader and will contribute its dynamic teams, its technical and manufacturing assets and its customer-focused mindset. The transaction has received the backing of all Camso’s shareholders.”

Through studies and discussions with Camso, Michelin has identified significant opportunities to increase sales and reduce costs, thereby unlocking up to US$55 million in synergies by 2021. After obtaining the customary approvals, Michelin will acquire Camso for US$1.45 billion, corresponding to an enterprise value of US$1.7 billion, i.e., a multiple of 8.3 times EBITDA* after synergies. The transaction will not impact the Group’s robust financial position.

As part of the transaction, Michelin has made the following commitments:

  • The OTR division’s decision-making center will be based at Camso’s headquarters in Magog. The management teams, including the top executive, will work out of the Magog office.
  • Headcount at Camso headquarters (300 employees, of which 100 in R&D) will remain stable, and existing R&D operations and production jobs in Quebec will be maintained.
  • The new skill sets required to oversee this global business, and the anticipated growth in the division’s net sales, will lead to the creation of new high-quality jobs in the Magog region in the coming years.

With this transaction, the Michelin Group is confirming its strategic commitment to expanding in the tires and services domains while rolling out its strategy in materials and distribution. Michelin also indicates that, following a thorough analysis, the synergies expected to result from the Fenner acquisition have been revised upward, to £60 $79.40 USD) million from the initially announced £30($39.70 USD) million

CASE Debuts Die Cast Model of the CASE/Team Rubicon SV340 Skid Steer Loader “The Beast”; Portion of Proceeds from Sales will Benefit Team Rubicon

CASE Construction Equipment announces the limited availability of a commemorative die cast model of the CASE/Team Rubicon SV340 skid steer loader, nicknamed “The Beast” by Team Rubicon’s heavy equipment operators.
Introduced for the first time at ConExpo/Con-Agg 2017, the CASE/Team Rubicon SV340 disaster response skid steer has responded to numerous disasters throughout the country – including Hurricane Harvey recovery and recent wildfire cleanup out west, as well as service projects in states such as Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.
A portion of the proceeds from each model purchase will aid TR’s mission and efforts. The limited-edition model can be purchased through the CASE website (text link: http://bit.ly/CASEMODEL).
Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. The organization is comprised of more than 80,000 volunteers and has responded to over 275 disasters across the world since 2010. CASE provides Team Rubicon with equipment for disaster response, community service and training events throughout the country as part of a partnership that kicked off in 2015.
“A great deal of the heritage of the construction industry is told through die cast models collected through the years,” says Mike Marchand, vice president – North America, CASE Construction Equipment. “This model ensures that this partnership and the great work achieved in community improvement and skills training of our veterans will be honored and remembered.”
To donate to Team Rubicon’s relief efforts, visit TeamRubiconUSA.org. For more on the partnership between Team Rubicon and CASE, visit CaseCE.com/TeamRubicon.
For more on Team Rubicon visit:
http://www.site-kconstructionzone.com/?s=Team+Rubicon

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*   The Coast Guard is seeking comments on a natural gas project to construct a new marine berth, in Cameron Parish, LA, adjacent to Port Arthur, TX, about halfway between New Orleans and Houston.  The Parish contains a number of national wildlife refuges, including, somewhat ironically perhaps, the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge.  This big project makes very clear how gas is stepping up to be an even bigger player on the world’s energy stage.  If approved the new berth would expand LNG vessel traffic from the current 400 vessels per year to 580, or about 2.3 LNG vessels every business day.  The CG wants comments on impacts to the Sabine-Neches Waterway; comments should address issues pertaining to the “physical nature of the affected waterway and issues of safety and security associated with LNG marine traffic.”  Comments are due by August 8.

On July 10, EPA published the most significant proposed environmental rule in the last 30 years: that there will be no remaining ozone nonattainment or maintenance receptors in the eastern US in 2023.  More specifically, this proposed rule is part of what’s called the states’ “Good Neighbor Policy,” i.e., that air pollution in one state must be so adequately controlled that it does not cause monitors in a downwind state(s) to show a violation of federal air quality standards; that air pollution from Illinois or Ohio, for example, does not cause problems in, say,  Pennsylvania or Rhode Island.  To a certain extent, this means the ozone problem is fixed, at least given the current standard.  Likely this is based on information from state EPAs themselves.  In filings from the states after the 2015 O3 standard changed, most agencies in east coast states calculated that their entire state would be in compliance, with a few exceptions within the metro New York City area and around Philadelphia.  It’s not an exaggeration to write that the entire US economy since 1990 has been dominated by this Herculean struggle.  Likely, in the general press, you won’t hear anything about it.
*   Well, it wasn’t in the Federal Register until July 10 but The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) announced it would hold another public “listening session,” in San Francisco, on July 12 on “Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) Which May Be a Barrier to the Safe Integration of Automated Driving Systems in Commercial Vehicle Operations.”  You may remember a previous session held a few months back.  In this second meeting, FMCSA wanted comments from stakeholders not part of the previous session, “including academia, insurance groups, and technology providers and developers.”  The Agency’s focus is on automated driving Levels 3,4 and 5, a ranking developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers; the overall five Levels include varying degrees of driver engagement, all the way to Level 5 – “Full Driving Automation: the vehicle is capable of performing all driving functions under all conditions.”  Remember, this is for commercial driving.  Comments due: July 25.

Tom Ewing
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