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Local trucking firms butting heads with Border Patrol

Newly enforced regulations prohibiting Mexican truck drivers from transporting cargo loads picked up at local warehouses to another location within the United States are creating a headache for trucking and logistics companies.

The issue stems from commercial violations of so-called “cabotage” regulations, a provision in the North American Free Trade Agreement that prohibits foreign truck drivers from lugging cargo that originated in the United States to a final destination within the country.

The issue prompted the owners of local trucking and logistic companies to convene a meeting Wednesday afternoon to discuss possible solutions to the problem. More than 25 people attended the gathering at WS Trucklines off Old Tucson Road, with most expressing concerns that if the problem isn’t fixed, they may have to close their businesses or lay off employees.

“Long story short, if we don’t fix this soon, 100 companies will close in Nogales,” said Jimmy Watson, Jr., who runs local trucking company JSJ Enterprises with his father Jimmy Watson, Sr.

Watson said that while the regulations have long been in place, they weren’t being enforced by local Border Patrol agents at the Interstate 19 checkpoint.

That changed, however, when Patrol Agent in Charge Sabri Dikman took over the Nogales Station in June, Watson said.

Though the group had until Oct. 1 to comply with the regulations, an email from Eric Lee, watch commander at the Nogales Border Patrol Station, to Luis Velasco of Athena Logistic Solutions, which the group provided to the NI, states: “The Chief of Tucson Sector has agreed to give local companies more time to get their operations in compliance before we start enforcing the regulations.”

The group now has until Jan. 1, 2018 to come into compliance.

“This is just an aspirin for the headache that is coming,” Watson told the group.

Change in attitude

In an emailed statement Thursday morning, the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector public information office said: “Federal immigration regulations and policies provide that foreign commercial truck drivers may qualify for temporary entry with a B-1 visa to pick up or deliver cargo traveling in the stream of international commerce.”

B-1 Temporary Business Visitor visas are meant for people who are participating in business activities in the United States. In the case of truck drivers here on a B-1 visa, they must enter the United States with a trailer loaded with foreign merchandise and deliver it to its final destination, remaining in the stream of international commerce.

They cannot, however, unload the cargo locally and then reload their trucks with merchandise stored at warehouses in Nogales and Rio Rico. Doing so would be a violation of cabotage regulations, also known as point-to-point hauling, because it would be considered domestic commerce and would be in direct competition to U.S. truck drivers.

“These regulations do not allow for commercial drivers in the United States on a B-1 visa to carry cargo in violation of cabotage laws, i.e. domestic point-to-point hauling or other purely domestic service or solicitation,” the sector’s public information office said. “Should a driver engage in such activity, he/she would be engaging in unauthorized employment in the United States in violation of (federal statutes).”

According to a pamphlet distributed by Border Patrol regarding NAFTA regulations that was provided to the NI by the business owners, drivers in violation of employment laws can have their cargo taken, visas cancelled, and will be arrested and placed in deportation proceedings. Companies in violation can also face civil and criminal penalties.

Asked why the change in attitude, the sector’s public information office said: “Border Patrol has exercised agent discretion in the enforcement of this law in the past. Reports from Interstate 19 checkpoint indicate numerous drivers transiting through the checkpoint are in violation of cabotage requirements.”

Once regulations are enforced, agents at the I-19 checkpoint will check truck drivers’ employment status and ask where the cargo loads originated.

Possible solutions

Among them, the businesses represented at Wednesday’s meeting have roughly 500 trucks, Watson said. If they’re unable to find a solution by the Jan. 1 deadline, it would mean a significant blow to the local economy, he added.

The group brainstormed various ways in which they could come into compliance with federal regulations, including hiring U.S. truck drivers, obtaining H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Worker visas for their employees and lobbying local, state and federal officials.

However, following through with those suggestions is easier said than done.

Nationwide, there is a shortage of U.S. truck drivers, and the group noted that the older average age of truck drivers on the road means there will be even more vacancies in the coming years.

Watson and others in attendance, including Luis Rivera of L&R Trucking and Salvador Gonzalez Luna of Goza Trucking, said they’ve run classified advertisements and visited the Santa Cruz County One Stop Career Center, but have been unsuccessful in their search for American drivers.

They said many potential drivers want to work Monday-Friday, drive locally or within the state and be paid in cash, demands that aren’t realistic, Gonzalez said. He added that many insurance companies also require that drivers have three years experience, which makes it difficult to attract younger drivers who have recently received their commercial driver’s license.

Still, Watson encouraged the group to reach out to the One Stop Center and also sign up to participate in the county job fair next month.

Another obstacle has been obtaining H-2B visas. Isaias Salas, owner of WS Trucklines, and Rivera said despite hiring a lawyer to help them with the application process, they’ve been denied multiple times. Velasco of Athena Logistic Solutions, who said he applied on his own and received a response from the Department of Labor, encouraged the group to submit the applications themselves before hiring a lawyer.

In addition to seeking American drivers more aggressively and applying for H-2B visas, the group also discussed creating a trucking association, helping to eliminate some of the competition among them, and also working with immigration lawyers and government officials who can help get their needs addressed.

“We’re not opposed to the regulations,” Gonzalez said. “We want to do things right, but we need help.”

Coincidentally, the meeting Wednesday came a day after the Arizona Department of Transportation held a training with Mexican truck drivers in Nogales, Sonora as part of an effort aimed at helping them cross the border more efficiently.

The ADOT effort, which teaches commercial drivers what to expect during safety inspections when they cross through a port of entry, seeks to reduce long lines at the port. It’s part of on-going effort to build better relationships between truckers and federal and state transportation inspectors at the Mariposa Port of Entry, which local and state officials believe is crucial to cross-border trade.


JPMorgan Chase & Co. Has $158.08 Million Holdings in Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. (HGV)

JPMorgan Chase & Co. lessened its position in shares of Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. (NYSE:HGV) by 11.2% during the 2nd quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The firm owned 4,383,906 shares of the company’s stock after selling 554,103 shares during the quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. owned approximately 4.42% of Hilton Grand Vacations worth $158,084,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC grew its position in Hilton Grand Vacations by 129.6% during the second quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 6,200 shares of the company’s stock valued at $223,000 after buying an additional 3,500 shares during the period. Pacad Investment Ltd. grew its position in shares of Hilton Grand Vacations by 6.7% in the second quarter. Pacad Investment Ltd. now owns 6,400 shares of the company’s stock valued at $231,000 after purchasing an additional 400 shares during the period. Cigna Investments Inc. New acquired a new stake in shares of Hilton Grand Vacations in the second quarter valued at about $263,000. Seven Bridges Advisors LLC grew its position in shares of Hilton Grand Vacations by 93.6% in the second quarter. Seven Bridges Advisors LLC now owns 10,574 shares of the company’s stock valued at $381,000 after purchasing an additional 5,113 shares during the period. Finally, Trexquant Investment LP acquired a new stake in shares of Hilton Grand Vacations in the second quarter valued at about $390,000. Institutional investors own 97.90% of the company’s stock.

Several analysts have recently issued reports on HGV shares. Zacks Investment Research[1] lowered shares of Hilton Grand Vacations from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 30th. Buckingham Research started coverage on shares of Hilton Grand Vacations in a research report on Monday, June 19th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $42.00 target price on the stock. Nomura boosted their price target on shares of Hilton Grand Vacations from $44.00 to $45.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 3rd. Finally, Instinet restated a “buy” rating and set a $45.00 price target (up from $44.00) on shares of Hilton Grand Vacations in a research report on Thursday, August 3rd. Nine analysts have rated the stock with a buy rating, The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $38.44.

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Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. (NYSE:HGV[2]) opened at 37.97 on Friday. Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. has a 52-week low of $24.60 and a 52-week high of $38.62. The firm has a market capitalization of $3.76 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.61. The company’s 50-day moving average is $36.26 and its 200-day moving average is $36.26.

Hilton Grand Vacations (NYSE:HGV) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 2nd. The company reported $0.51 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.45 by $0.06. The business had revenue of $439.00 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $413.33 million. Hilton Grand Vacations’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.3% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts predict that Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. will post $1.94 earnings per share for the current year.

In other Hilton Grand Vacations news, Director David William Johnson acquired 28,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 17th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $35.16 per share, with a total value of $984,480.00. Following the purchase, the director now owns 33,000 shares in the company, valued at $1,160,280. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink[3]. 0.46% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

About Hilton Grand Vacations

Hilton Grand Vacations Inc is a timeshare company that markets and sells vacation ownership intervals (VOIs), manages resorts in leisure and urban destinations, and operates a points-based vacation club. The Company operates its business across two segments: Real Estate Sales and Financing, and Resort Operations and Club Management.

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Kenworth country – Owner//Driver

Date: 22.09.2017

Born and bred in rural South Australia, Dave ‘Stix’ Stocker is content to keep it country behind the wheel of a 2010 Kenworth T908. Peter and Di Schlenk write

Dave ‘Stix’ Stocker is a country boy at heart with his 908.

Dave Stocker, better known as ‘Stix’, was in the queue at an Adelaide truck wash when Owner//Driver caught up with him recently.

Stix was behind the wheel of a Kenworth T908, owned by McMillan & Sons Haulage which is based in Mallala just north of Adelaide.

“I’m lucky I have a time slot to have it washed so it worked out well for me today,” Stix smiles.

“Once it’s washed I’ll head around to CMV to drop the truck off to get the batteries looked at and a mate will give me a ride home.”

Stix, who lives in the Barossa Valley, is single and hence enjoys life on the road. His current run is from Loxton to Adelaide, hauling grain from country silos.

“With the demise of the majority of country railway lines in South Australia, we have the job of getting the grain down to the port,” Stix explains.

“The trucks do a very good job. A dozen rigs can be loaded very quickly and now we can run as road trains.

“Trucks are even more efficient, we do one round trip a day although with an early start we occasionally get two trips completed.”

The route into Adelaide from the Riverland is now road train rated, so operators are converting their B-doubles to road trains.

“These are Freightmaster trailers, very user friendly and good to operate,” Stix says.

“All we do is pull a pin and slide the A-trailers tri up under the tipper and connect the dolly. It goes down the road very nicely.

Stix says it’s great to see road trains routes throughout the state but he’s quick to point out that the road system is not keeping up with the advances in technology and combinations.

“I travelled on these roads as a kid with dad when he was driving express interstate. The roads have changed very little since then,” he states.

Stick’s father Wayne drove for Wards Overnighters, piloting their dark blue slimline cab-overs, generally running to Sydney but with the occasional run to Brisbane and the odd changeover. He later worked for United Transport.

“My love of trucks started as a little whipper snapper. I was always in the trucks and with him going around the place,” he recalls.

“It was very different back then and the Overnighters were kings of the road.

“I loved going with him, he was always on the road, doing the hard yards.

“He didn’t get much time off but he has his little group that he travelled with. He did his own thing and then caught up with them when he wasn’t on the road.”

Stix’s first job was with Trevor Cox from Gawler who had a fleet of trucks running sand and aggregate into batching plants. That first truck was a little CH Mack and super dog setup.

“Trevor gave me a shot and I haven’t looked back since,” Stix says.

Before joining McMillans, Stix was in a Kenworth T909 with a five-axle trailer.

“McMillans, it’s a good little place to work at and it’s a great truck; a driver’s truck – nice and comfortable to drive.”

The T908 is one of four trucks in the fleet. There’s another T908, a T909 and a T409. The trucks are kept busy with grain with the occasional load of fertiliser.

It becomes evident when talking to Stix that he enjoys his job, which he says comes down to driving a good truck and having a good boss.

“It’s a bit of a pain keeping the truck clean now that it’s raining again, but it means there will be a crop to harvest and cart next year.”

Stix has no plans to run interstate and is happy to be home most nights. The truck is at the depot each Saturday morning for washing and servicing; then it’s time for a few snags and drinks.

“It’s all just works out well,” he continues. “There is plenty of work around locally to keep me out of mischief so while the grain is around, this is where you’ll find me.”

Surprisingly, Stix has never hauled grapes out of the Barossa, but during harvest can be found doing paddock to silo, which he says is a nice change.

“It gets a bit testing but you have to keep the farmers happy; you get to have a relationship with these guys.

“They look after you and you look after them.”

Well appointed

Stix says the Kenworth is ideal for paddock work. The truck has a 50-inch sleeper and is decked out with TV, DVD and fridge-freezer. To top that off, Stix carries his own small cooker.

“You stay with the farmer for a couple of weeks and either they give you a feed or a few bucks to have a feed so it works out well.

“While the work is there and the money is good I will keep doing it.”

Stix sees a bright future ahead for the transport industry despite the continual changes.

“The regulations, hours and the way we work, it’s all evolving and I really do see it looking good as long as everyone is doing the right thing.

“Unfortunately, although we are providing an essential reliable service, we are stereotyped as a truck driver.

“You do get credit from time to time but generally truck drivers are seen in a negative way.”

With everyone able to take photos and videos and then put it up on social media, Stix is concerned that with the public’s 24-hour obsession for news, you could find yourself posted everywhere for very little reason.

“It has its good and bad points but just as in our workplace, the public arena, you have got to be aware and have your wits about you. You are always being watched.” he says.

Stix, who grew up in the country, has also noticed the change in mateship from the times going with his dad to what it is today.

“What the blokes had back then, they knew each other. They were mates and would help each other out.

“That’s why I enjoy catching up with the farmers, you get to have that chin wag.”

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