The October 1 EPA deadline for diesel engines with reduced emissions is costing Freightliner LLC big business – and the truck maker's workers in Portland fear it could throttle their jobs.

According to The Oregonian of Portland, Phoenix-based Swift Transportation has cancelled and Green Bay, WI-based Schneider National has postponed fall orders for hundreds of new trucks, saying the new engines cost too much and remain untested.

Swift Transportation recently canceled orders for 1,600 new Freightliner trucks to be made after October 1, and is considering canceling 1,600 more in the first quarter of 2003.

Schneider National has yet to order any trucks from Freightliner for delivery after October 1. VP for long-haul service Paul McCarthy said Schneider National will not place an order until it is able to assess the new engines, which may not be until sometime in spring 2003.

The drop in orders is prompting concern that the DaimlerChrysler subsidiary may have to lay off workers, like other OEMs and engine makers have already done. Detroit Diesel, also a DaimlerChrysler subsidiary, and International Truck and Engine both announced layoffs earlier this month.