Friday, June 16, 2006

Arkansas Best Corporation Announces the Sale of Clipper Exxpress

Arkansas Best Corporation announced today it has completed the sale of Clipper Exxpress, its intermodal transportation subsidiary, for approximately US$21 million in cash to Bluenose Holdings Inc., a division of Wheels Group, of Mississauga, Ontario Canada.

Arkansas Best estimates that its net cash proceeds from the sale, after transaction costs and income taxes, will be approximately US$19 million. The company estimates that the sale will result in an after-tax gain of between $0.11 and $0.12 per share which will be recognized in the second quarter of 2006. The final purchase price is subject to adjustments based on the closing balance sheet as of June 14, 2006.

Clipper's results of operations and the gain on the sale will be reported as discontinued operations in Arkansas Best's future financial filings.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

U.S. Economy: Consumer Prices Exceed Forecast in May

U.S. consumer prices excluding food and energy rose more than forecast for a third consecutive month, increasing speculation the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates beyond this month.

The 0.3 percent jump in the so-called core consumer price index in May reported by the Labor Department in Washington today exceeded the median forecast of a 0.2 percent increase by economists in a Bloomberg News survey. Core inflation over the last three months was the highest since 1995. Including food and fuel, prices climbed 0.4 percent.

Transportation companies are among businesses most intent on passing along rising fuel costs. American Airlines and United Airlines, the world's largest carriers, last week joined Delta Air Lines Inc. in raising a surcharge on trans-Atlantic flights by $10 each way to help cover rising fuel costs. The surcharge increased to $75 each way.

Surcharges ``allow us to deal with these spikes in fuel,'' YRC Worldwide Inc. Chief Executive Officer William Zollars said in an interview last week. ``For the most part, our customers have had the ability to pass that on to their customers.''

Rising rents, which account for almost 40 percent of the core CPI, is another reason behind the latest acceleration in inflation. Rising mortgage interest rates and higher prices are making buying a house less affordable and renting more attractive. Improving demand and limited supply are making it easier for landlords to pass along rent increases, economists said.

The pickup in rents has fueled a debate among economists about whether the latest core CPI readings are an accurate measure of the pickup in inflation.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Truckers caution public to drive safe

Ruben Armendariz hopes the people who climb into the cab of his truck will see what he sees: a road full of drivers who don't seem all that concerned about self-preservation.

"I think it's just that people don't understand what it's like being in that truck, and what it means to share the road safely," said Armendariz, 56, who has logged more than 2 million miles without an accident.

Armendariz and four other drivers from Albuquerque shared tips last week as part of the Share the Road campaign, a national program to teach drivers to be safe around semi-trailers.

In a stop at Balloon Fiesta Park, they let car and pickup drivers jump into the cab of a semi to see the dangerous things cars do.

Ralph Garcia, 48, a trucker for ABF Freight Systems and an Albuquerque native, said car drivers might not understand that truckers don't see them.

"You wouldn't think there would be a blind spot here," he said, pointing to the left-side mirrors. "Spot mirrors help, but sometimes you can't see that blind spot on the driver's side.

Then he leaned over to show a compact car, just 10 feet away.

It's important for drivers to pass on the left and drive quickly, because the blind spot on the left is smaller, Garcia said.

Some other tips for car drivers:

If you can't see a truck's mirrors, the driver can't see you.

If a trucker's mirrors and reflections are visible, they know a driver is there.

Leave plenty of following distance.

A good following distance is 20-25 car lengths.

Never cut off a truck. They outweigh you and can't stop quickly.

Monday, June 12, 2006

NM State Truck Driving Champion

Steve Limas, of Belen, was named the best professional truck driver in New Mexico after winning the five-axle competition and receiving the highest overall score in the eight competing categories at the 2006 New Mexico State Truck Driving Championships. The annual event is sponsored by the New Mexico Trucking Association.

Limas, who works for ABF Freight System, now qualifies to compete in the American Trucking Associations' (ATA) National Truck Driving Championships August 15 - 19, 2006 in New Orleans, LA - the "Super Bowl of Safety." The winners from each of the eight categories are also eligible to compete in the national championship.

The national competition includes the individual champions from each of the 50 states. The nearly 400 top professional truck drivers will travel to New Orleans to compete in their respective classes. From 18-wheeler five axle sleepers to tank trucks to twin trailers-they will drive a course that recreates situations truck drivers face daily. These maneuvers will include: an ally dock, a rear line stop, a side park, a scale stop, a right turn, a front line stop, and straight line driving through a diminishing clearance.

On Saturday night, August 19, the contestant with the most points drives away as the National Grand Champion Truck Driver.

New Mexico winners for each category included:

Joe Bernal, Jr., Fed Ex Freight, Straight Truck

Patrick Delp, Fed Ex Express, Three-Axle

Daniel Bruch, Fed Ex Freight, Four-Axle

Steve Limas, ABF Freight System, Five-Axle

Ralph Garcia, ABF Freight System, Five-Axle Sleeper

Jim Wilcox, Yellow Transportation, Tankers

Carlos Sandoval, Con-Way Freight, Flatbed

Fabian Lovato, Fed Ex Freight, Twins

Teamsters Deliver Union Message at Bloggers Convention

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters was one of four Change to Win unions that participated in the YearlyKos, a convention of progressive web bloggers, last week in Las Vegas.

The first of its kind gathering drew more than 1,000 bloggers and more than 100 members of the mainstream media.

The Teamsters were very well received. Several blog writers and readers thanked the union for fighting the fight and offered their support and encouragement. The Teamsters Communications Department exhibited at the convention and distributed brochures and 64 MB USB flash drives preloaded with information that linked to

The concept behind the USB drives was to introduce the bloggers to the Teamsters in a high-tech manner they could appreciate. It demonstrated how the union is taking action on the very issues they are writing about—the high cost of health care, labor issues and rights, port security, rail and highway safety, secure pensions, trade and corporate greed.

Bringing the bloggers to was intended to show off the resources and content available, so they would use the site as a resource when writing about these topics.

The Teamster representatives also gathered contact information from bloggers so they could start the Internet buzzing the next time the union takes on the bloggers’ key issues.

"I think this is a great demonstration of how Teamsters are capitalizing on new technologies to get our message out,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. “These bloggers are a shot in the arm to the democratic process. And it is terrific that they are hungry for information about the Teamsters. But this is only one step in starting the conversation online. I encourage any member who reads these blogs to participate in the netroots movement and bring Teamster power to the web.”

Other Change to Win unions exhibiting or participating at the convention included the United Food and Commercial Workers, which had a booth about their Wake Up Wal-Mart web site; the Service Employees International Union, which helped sponsor the event; and UNITE HERE. Greg Tarpinian, Change to Win Executive Director, also participated in a panel discussion, entitled "Labor and Power."

The convention drew national attention and such Democratic notables as California Sen. Barbara Boxer, retired Gen. Wesley Clark, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority