Industry News Briefs Courtesy of PMTA

September 2016

FMCSA Delays Implementation of Unified Registration System

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said July 20 it is delaying for three months implementation of the final piece of the Unified Registration System intended to streamline the registration process and more closely monitor “reincarnated” carriers.

The URS, slated to improve the registration process for carriers, property brokers, freight forwarders, intermodal equipment providers and cargo tank facilities, will be implemented by Jan. 14, with a full compliance date of April 14.FMCSA estimates the initial phase of the URS, launched in December 2015, has saved the industry approximately $1.6 million in processing time during the first six months.

The URS requires new carriers to provide census and data information prior to gaining operating authority and existing carriers to update the information every two years.

More than 500,000 active carriers remain in the agency’s database, Kelly Regal, FMCSA’s director and associate administrator of research and information technology, said at a telephone conference.

More than 80 percent of carriers say detention time ‘a very serious problem’ for their operation. A recent survey by DAT Solutions found that nearly 63 percent of commercial truck drivers spend more than three hours detained at shippers and receivers’ facilities each time they pick up or deliver a load.

Of the 247 carriers surveyed, 54 percent reported typical detention times of three to four hours, while 9 percent said they wait more than five hours at docks. Both carriers and brokers agreed that detention time begins after two hours parked at a dock loading or unloading. Tam told Transport Topics.

Additionally, more than half of the carriers surveyed considered detention time to be “a very serious problem” for their operations, and 84 percent of the 247 carriers said detention is one of the top five biggest problems they face. The survey was also conducted with 50 brokers, and only about 20 percent said detention was a top five problem for them.

CVSA Deems Roadcheck a Success with 57,404 Trucks Inspected

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has deemed this year’s Roadcheck a success. According to data released by Vigillo and confirmed by CVSA, 57,404 trucks were inspected during Roadcheck, sponsored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and held June 7-9.

Those inspections numbered at least 20,000 more than were undertaken during the same period the weeks before and after Roadcheck.

Tires were the theme of this year’s Roadcheck, and there was a major increase in tire-related violations during the event compared to the same period during the prior and following weeks. More than 5,200 tire violations were recorded during Roadcheck, with 43% of those being tread-depth violations.

US Economy Grew Less-Than- Forecast 1.2% in Second Quarter

Bloomberg announces that the U.S. economy expanded less than forecast in the second quarter after a weaker start to the year than previously estimated as companies slimmed down inventories and remained wary of investing amid shaky global demand.

Gross domestic product rose at a 1.2 percent annualized rate after a 0.8 percent advance the prior quarter, Commerce Department figures showed Friday in Washington.

The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 2.5 percent second-quarter increase.

Report from the Fed shows slowdown in trucking activity.

Clinton touts $275B infrastructure plan to help create jobs

According to reports, Hillary Clinton is making investments in the nation’s infrastructure a cornerstone of her job creation plan. During a major economic speech near Detroit on Thursday, the Democratic presidential nominee vowed to work with Congress to advance the biggest investment in new jobs since World War II.

“We will put Americans to work building and modernizing our roads, our bridges, our tunnels, our railways, our ports, our airports,” Clinton said. “We are way overdue for this, my friends. We are living off the investments that were made by our parents and grandparents.”.

Cinton’s, 5-year plan calls for $250 billion in funding for new and improved infrastructure, which she said would create jobs, stimulate the economy and help fix the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges.

Obama made transportation projects the backbone of his economic stimulus package, which devoted $105 billion to infrastructure, partly in the form of competitive grants.

Here’s how much trucking paid in highway user taxes in 2014

The U.S. trucking industry paid just shy of $40 billion in highway user taxes in 2014, according to a recent report produced by the American Trucking Associations.

The organization’s annual Trucking Trends report for 2016 revealed the industry took in $726.4 billion in freight revenue, accounting for81.5 percent of all revenue spent in the U.S. on freight transportation, ATA concludes in its report.

Commercial trucks paid $18.4 billion in federal highway user taxes and $21.6 billion in state highway user taxes, combining for $39.9 billion, according to the Trends report. These numbers obviously exclude several types of taxes that trucking companies pay; the 39.9 billion focuses exclusively on highway use taxes, counting federal and state truck registration taxes, tire taxes and on-highway taxes on diesel and gasoline.

Heavy Truck Speed Limiter Rule Clears OMB

A joint proposed rule to limit the top speed of heavy trucks has cleared a review by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The OMB clearance, completed Aug. 12, is the final step required for publication of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposal.

Latest projections call for publication on Aug. 28, according to this month’s Department of Transportation Significant Rulemakings Report.

The pursuit of a heavy truck speed limiter rule began in 2006 when American Trucking Associations and Road Safe America each filed petitions claiming that limiting the top speed of trucks would save both lives and fuel.

FMCSA and NHTSA said the rule would decrease the estimated 1,115 fatal crashes annually involving vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds on roads with posted speed limits of 55 mph or above.

Feds Roll Out Phase 2 on Greenhouse Gases - Three Stages for Truck and Engine Rules Will Be 2021, 2024 and 2027

The Obama administration rolled out the final version of its Phase 2 rule on greenhouse gas emissions from heavy- and medium-duty trucks Aug. 16, with top administration officials saying the mandate will save 1.1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide and other GHGs through the final rollout date of 2027.

The long-anticipated rule was first described for the press by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and others. McCarthy said the three stages for truck and engine rules will be 2021, 2024 and 2027.

EPA had considered consolidating the rollout to just the first two stages but decided instead to make the standards more strict than in last year’s proposal while stretching to three stages. The rule, which succeeds Phase 1 that has rollout dates of January 2014 and January 2017, also will cover trailers for the first time, but no details on that were released immediately.

ATRI Helps US DOT With Integrated Corridor Management Program

Traffic incidents impact many stakeholders who sometimes don’t coordinate with each other. That fact caused the American Transportation Research Institute to help develop primers for the

U.S. Department of Transportation’s Integrated Corridor Management program.

The idea behind ICM is to improve traffic flow in urban areas, allowing for more efficient movement of people and goods through proactive management of existing infrastructure along major corridors.

“ICM is designed to bring together all the pieces in a multimodal corridor, the agencies that operate the roadways, the transit system and the parking facilities, in a more concentrated fashion, which will benefit freight movement,” ATRI President Rebecca Brewster said.

According to DOT, ICM is “the next logical step in transportation operations."

"ICM helps transportation leaders improve travel time reliability, empower travelers and manage traffic congestion," the agency said. "ICM gives corridor managers a proven approach and toolbox to integrate developments in technologies, collaborative practices and operations innovations from the last decade.”

Brewster said that will be especially true for ATRI’s list of the nation’s worst truck bottlenecks. In the event of an incident that hampers traffic, truckers and other motorists would be notified via text or e-mail about alternative routes or modes to reach their destinations.

Speed limiter mandate clears final hurdle, set for publication

A proposed federal rule to require the use of speed limiters on heavy-duty trucks has cleared its final hurdle in the regulatory process and will likely be published in the coming weeks. The White House’s Office of Management and Budget stamped its approval on the rule Aug. 12, according to the White House’s online rulemaking portal.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking may now be published at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s discretion. Rules are generally published in the weeks following their clerance of the OMB.

Trailer Orders Fall to Below 10,000 in July

U.S. trailer orders in July fell to less than half of what they were a year earlier as seasonal weakness and cautious fleets still eyeing a lackluster economy cut demand more than expected, ACT Research Co. reported. Orders sank to 9,950, compared with 20,313 a year earlier, ACT said.

The company said the July figure was preliminary and would be revised. Orders fell more than 25% sequentially in July from 13,532 in June.

“While July is the industry’s weakest order month from a seasonal perspective, the month-over- month tumble was more than double that projected by seasonal patterns,” Frank Maly, ACT’s director of commercial vehicle, transportation analysis and research, said in a statement.