Latest Industry News Brief Courtesy of PMTA
Trucking Provides Congress With Roadmap For Safe And Swift Economic Recovery, ATA Chairman Highlights Trucking’s Essential Role Throughout COVID-19 Crisis
Arlington, VA… Randy Guillot, chairman of the American Trucking Associations and president of Triple G Express and Southeastern Motor Freight out of Jefferson, Louisiana, testified before the Senate Commerce Committee on the U.S. trucking industry’s response to the COVID-19 crisis—and on the role trucking will play in leading our economic recovery.
Due to the U.S. Senate’s social distancing protocols, Guillot testified remotely via video conference from his home state of Louisiana. From his opening remarks:
“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the trucking industry has been thrust to the forefront of our national consciousness. While most activity ground to a halt across the country, America’s 3.5 million professional truck drivers kept moving. These heroes continue serving on the frontlines, ensuring everyone has the goods they need to get through these challenging times.
“We hear the term ‘essential’ more frequently of late—as America wakes up to the gravity of what essential truly means. Truckers are the difference between a fully-stocked grocery store and one lined with empty shelves. They’re why doctors and nurses have PPE to protect themselves. They’re how test kits get to hot-spots for local officials to use to fight the virus’ spread.”
As the country now turns from crisis to recovery, Guillot underscored the industry’s unique position to lead the nation’s ailing economy to revival. He cited specific policies that lawmakers can pursue to support trucking and accelerate the turnaround effort, including federal infrastructure funding; incentives for fleets to invest in new, safer and more efficient technologies; and liability protections from excessive litigation.
Trucking Applauds Chairman DeFazio on Release of Surface Transportation Bill - ATA Calls On Congress To Pass Bipartisan Infrastructure Package With Sustainable Funding
Arlington, VA…. The American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear issued the following statement after Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio released the House committee’s draft surface transportation reauthorization bill:
“On behalf of ATA members helping move 71 percent of our nation’s freight, we applaud Chairman DeFazio for fulfilling his commitment to produce a comprehensive infrastructure bill, and we look forward to working with House Ways & Means Chairman Neal to fund it—with real money.
“This draft legislation contains significant investment in our country’s roads and bridges. And while we may not agree on every provision therein, this is a real and commendable step on the part of the committee to advance the process in the House and ultimately arrive at a negotiable solution with the Senate.
“Roads and bridges are not Democrat or Republican. We all drive on them. For the 7.7 million Americans in trucking who do their job each day to move our economy forward, we ask members of Congress to do theirs—and pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill that meets the urgent needs of our economy, our industry and the motoring public.”
Trucking Praises Reform to NEPA Permitting Process
Arlington, VA … American Trucking Associations is praising the Trump Administration for finalizing a proposed rule to reform the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which will speed up the review process for critically-needed investments in our country’s roads and bridges.
“This is good news for truckers, the motoring public, our economy and the environment,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “It currently takes an average seven years for a highway construction project to get through federal permitting, which is counterproductive in the extreme. This cumbersome review process presents an enormous obstacle to modernizing our outdated infrastructure, contributing to more traffic congestion and the harmful emissions that come with it.”
ATA notes that the trucking industry loses $74.5 billion every year to traffic congestion on the National Highway System, which equates to 425,000 truck drivers sitting idle for an entire year—emitting a staggering 67 million tons of CO2.
“Infrastructure investment is a surefire way to reduce our nation’s environmental impact, and this action by President Trump will help accelerate construction projects that reduce waste and result in a more efficient and resilient supply chain and transportation system for decades to come,” said Randy Guillot, ATA Chairman and president of Triple G Express and Southeastern Motor Freight.
“Of course, streamlining project approvals won’t matter if states don’t have the funding needed to plan projects and break ground. COVID-19 has caused a 14% drop in Highway Trust Fund revenue, widening the investment gap and hurtling us closer to the funding cliff,” said Guillot. “If Congress fails to act this year on its Constitutional responsibility, it risks derailing our economic recovery.”
As both President Trump and former Vice President Biden talk infrastructure on the campaign trail this week, ATA says road and bridge funding is the issue it’ll be tracking most closely as campaigns unveil competing policy platforms in the coming weeks.
“Truckers don’t outsource our responsibilities, and we’re asking Washington to stop outsourcing theirs to future generations and foreign countries. No more delays. No more borrowed cash from China. It’s time to pass a surface transportation bill and pay for American infrastructure now,” Spear said.
Opposition to $2 million Truck Insurance Limit Grows, Still Unsuccessful in Removing Increase From House Bill
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) joined the Owner Operators and Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA), numerous state trucking associations (including the Nevada Trucking Association) and industry specific trucking groups in their opposition to the Garcia Amendment, which would increase the minimum truck insurance to $2 million.
While ATA is a strong supporter of the overarching goal of the legislation, ATA VP Bill Sullivan noted the ATA's opposition to an amendment offered by Rep. Jesús Garcia last week to arbitrarily raise minimum insurance requirement limits on commercial vehicles.
”This language was written by trial lawyers, supported by trial lawyers and, to no surprise, benefits trial lawyers," said Sullivan.
”This new $2 million cap was arbitrarily plucked out of thin air by the American Association of Justice and aside from lining the pockets of AAJ members, it lacks relevant data. If a change to the minimum insurance cap is to be made, it must reflect the direct input of the trucking industry and be based on actuarial data - not special interest pandering. If the Senate and Congress want to get this right, they must pursue a fair, data- and stake-holder driven process to determine appropriate levels and their impact on safety and economic outcomes. ATA will work to improve the bill, including a fix to the minimum insurance cap that is inclusive of the regulated industry and data-driven.”
Unfortunately, removing the amendment in Rules Committee last night was unsuccessful. There will not be a vote to eliminate Section 4408 from H.R. 2 on the House floor. The increase in insurance requirements will remain in the bill, which will likely pass on a party-line vote later this week.
The Garcia Amendment is unlikely to become law in the next few months, because it will have a much tougher time making it out of the US Senate.
House Democrats have made it clear they intend to increase our minimum level of coverage to at least $2,000,000. If that’s not accomplished in 2020, it will certainly be a priority in 2021, if they hold onto to control in the House of Representatives and gain control of the Senate.
Federal COVID-19 Waivers For Commercial Driver Licenses Extended Through Sept. 30
SALEM, OR… As the COVID-19 emergency continues, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended waivers on commercial driver licensing requirements through Sept. 30, 2020.
This reissuing of the FMCSA’s March 24, 2020, waiver is part of efforts to continue assisting the movement of essential goods and services during the emergency.
The FMCSA’s waiver is now in effect through Sept. 30 for states, commercial driver license holders, commercial learner permit holders and interstate drivers operating commercial motor vehicles.
The federal waiver includes, effective July 1, 2020:
•All Oregon commercial driver licenses expiring between March 1, 2020, and Sept. 29, 2020, now expire on Sept. 30, 2020.
•All Oregon commercial learner permits expiring between March 1, 2020, and Sept. 29, 2020, now expire on Sept. 30, 2020.
•All Oregon CLP holders are eligible to take the CDL skills test without regard to the 14-day waiting period.
•All Oregon CDL holders and CLP holders who certified as non-excepted interstate and whose medical certification expired on or after March 1, 2020, retain medical qualification until Sept. 30, 2020, if the medical examiner certificate was issued for 90 days or more.
FMCSA waiver in Oregon:
•DMV will not cancel commercial driving privileges for expired medical examiner certificates, if the medical examiner certificate was valid on or after March 1, 2020, for a period of 90 days or more.
•More on FMCSA waiver:
Under 49 U.S.C. §31315(d), both the original CDL Waiver (March 24, 2020) and this post-dated CDL Waiver (July 1, 2020) preempt any Oregon laws that are contrary to the provisions of either waiver.
CBSA Expands Personal Data Collection Policy to 12 More Border Points
TORONTO, CANADA… The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) just released an expanded list of Canada-US ports of entry – 18 in total – which will be collecting contact information for all travellers (symptomatic and asymptomatic), including truck drivers, starting, July 9.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance clarified the increased powers of public health officials to collect the personal information of truck drivers at an initial six Canadian ports of entry (POE) when crossing into Canada. Although the policy was expected to take a phased approach and roll out to additional ports in the coming weeks, CTA was advised this afternoon that travellers crossing 12 additional ports of entry will be required to provide their contact information as well, starting July 9.
On top of the ports which began collecting contact information from truck drivers on June 30 (St Stephen 3rd Bridge; St-Armand/Philipsburg; Lansdowne; Queenston-Lewiston Bridge; Coutts; Pacific Highway) the following ports will follow suit:
•Sault Ste. Marie
Border Services Officers (BSO) are expected to input personal contact information for persons exempt from quarantine, including their email address, principle phone number and secondary phone number (if applicable) into a database that is managed by PHAC. Once collected, the information will automatically be entered into the system and not have to be taken when the driver crosses next.
Travelers who refuse to provide their information will be advised by a BSO they could be subject to additional measures, such as a requirement to undergo a health assessment. They could also be charged with an offence under the Quarantine Act. Alternatively, local police in a specific jurisdiction can issue a ticket under the Contraventions Act. If the exempt traveller continues to refuse providing their information, they will be referred to a PHAC quarantine officer.
“Like everything else in this COVID-19 environment, events at the border as well as responses to mitigate the spread of the virus remain very fluid,” said Lak Shoan, Director of Policy and Industry Awareness Programs for CTA. “CTA will continue to update the industry accordingly and work with the governments to keep the economy moving while protecting the privacy and health and welfare of our professional driving community.”
ATA Truck Tonnage Index Fell 1% in May - Index 9.6% below May 2019
Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index contracted 1% in May after falling 10.3% in April. In May, the index equaled 106.1 (2015=100) compared with 107.2 in April.
“While tonnage fell in May, even though other economic indicators like retail sales and housing starts rose, I’m not overly concerned,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “First, while down over 10 percent sequentially in April, truck tonnage did not fall as much as other economic indicators that month. This means that any rebound is tougher since tonnage didn’t fall substantially to begin with. Second, there are indications that freight continues to improve as more and more states and localities lift lockdown restrictions.”
April’s drop was revised up to -10.3% from the 12.2% decline reported in our May 19 press release.
Compared with May 2019, the SA index contracted 9.6%, the largest year-over-year decline since 2009 during the depths of the Great Recession, although the index is not falling quite as much as during that economic downturn. For example, in April 2009, the index was off 14% from a year earlier. The latest drop was preceded by a 9.4% year-over-year drop in April. Year-to-date, compared with the same period in 2019, tonnage is down 2.6%.
“While the overall economy will likely take more than a year to recover, assuming the pandemic doesn’t spike again, the trucking industry could recover back to pre-COVID levels before many other industries because it hasn’t fallen as much,” Costello said. “As retail sales improve and housing starts recover, that will help trucking. The risk for trucking is that the virus surges again and places start to shut back down again.”
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 109.8 in May, 2.8% above the April level (106.9). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015. ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index is dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight.
Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 71.4% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 11.49 billion tons of freight in 2018. Motor carriers collected $796.7 billion, or 80.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.
ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.
ATA Seeks Nominations for Next Class of America’s Road Team Captains - Association Seeks Elite Professional Drivers to Spread Message of Safety, Essentiality
Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations said it was seeking nominations for elite professional drivers to serve on the 2021-2022 America's Road Team.
“For 34 years, the captains of America’s Road Team has represented the very best our industry has to offer,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “These elite drivers have proudly represented the best ideals and values of our industry, including safety, professionalism and patriotism. These men and women typify the positive impact the trucking industry has on communities across the nation. We are proud to continue this tradition and select the next group of outstanding individuals to become America’s Road Team Captains.”
Founded in 1986, America's Road Team, a group of highly accomplished professional truck drivers with incredible safety records, promotes the trucking industry by educating the general public, media, and elected officials about the industry's strong safety record and importance to the economy.
Every two years, a new group of Captains is selected to join the prestigious ranks of America's Road Team and serve as the industry's foremost ambassadors. America's Road Team Captains become the face of the trucking industry, attending key events alongside elected officials, appearing on national media broadcasts and championing the industry at schools and community events in every state. The professional drivers, all of whom have millions of accident-free miles, take a few days away from their companies each month to meet with the motoring public, students, transportation officials and public policymakers to educate and teach about safe driving practices by preforming demonstrations, and explaining the sustainable role that trucking plays in the nation's economy.
“I have driven through a lot of gates in my life, but never did I think I would drive through the gates of the White House,” said America’s Road Team Captain Tina Peterson from FedEx Freight. “America’s Road Team has allowed me to be involved with truck safety advocacy on the frontlines.”
ATA members are encouraged to nominate professional truck drivers who exhibit strong interpersonal skills, have impressive safety records, and demonstrate a positive attitude toward the industry and their careers as professional truck drivers. Nominations for the 2021-2022 class of America's Road Team are due August 17.
“When people think of the ‘professional truck driver’, they envision a passionate, safe, patriotic, hard-working person who is constantly making a positive impact in their community, while delivering freight safely and securely to homes and businesses across America,” said ATA Executive Vice President of Industry Affairs Elisabeth Barna. “America’s Road Team Captains exhibit these qualities every day, to advance the industry’s image and policy goals. ATA could not be more excited to select the next class of deserving professionals for this high honor.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light of what the term “essential employee” means, and has given America an opportunity to truly see first-hand the importance of the trucking industry. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Americans have clearly expressed their respect and gratitude for the work that professional truck drivers do every day to keep the economy moving and our communities supplied. As the country begins to move past this crisis, the next class of Road Team Captains will be instrumental in building and continuing this momentum, and furthering these educational efforts.
Over the past 34 years, Captains have traveled the country educating millions of individuals on highway safety, trucking's essentiality and the importance of pride and professionalism in the industry, and also how rewarding and fulfilling a career in trucking can be. Eighteen professional truck drivers make up the 2019-2020 America's Road Team, and together they have more than 36 million combined accident-free miles and 480 years of professional truck driving experience.
“Volvo Trucks North America has always championed safety as our number one priority, and we celebrate the professional drivers who practice safety not only on the road in their day-to-day work, but also advocate for road safety in their communities,” said Magnus Koeck, vice president of marketing and brand management, Volvo Trucks North America. “We are proud to sponsor America's Road Team and their Captains with a fully equipped Volvo VNL 760. It has the industry’s most cutting-edge safety technologies, along with the best driving and resting environment for these influential drivers."
“Being an America's Road Team Captain allowed me the opportunity to be recognized at a Washington Nationals game during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week,” said America's Road Team Captain David Boyer from ABF Freight System. “It was a huge honor for me and my family, and a chance for America to learn more about those that deliver essential goods every day.”
To nominate a professional truck driver for America's Road Team, please carefully read the eligibility requirements and fill out the nomination form. For additional questions go to americasroadteam.com. Finalists will be announced November 6, with the final selection taking place in January 2021 in Arlington, Virginia.
America's Road Team, sponsored by Volvo Trucks, is a national public outreach program led by a small group of professional truck drivers who share superior driving skills, remarkable safety records and a strong desire to spread the word about safety on the highway. Follow America's Road Team on Facebook or Twitter.
American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation’s freight. Follow ATA on Twitter or Facebook. Trucking Moves America Forward.
ATA Releases Results of Latest Driver Compensation Study- Survey Shows Driver Pay Increased Through 2019 as Trucking Demand Grew
Arlington, VA… The American Trucking Associations released the latest version of the association’s Driver Compensation Study, which showed average driver pay, including bonuses, rose nearly $6,000 in 2019 since the last study in 2017.
“These results show that fleets did exactly what we would expect them to in the face of a tightening market for drivers: they raised pay and increased benefits in order to attract talent,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello.
According to the survey, which was based on data from 2019, the average pay for truckload national, irregular route solo van drivers was roughly $58,000, up $6,000 from 2017.
“We saw large carriers hire more entry-level drivers in 2019, including drivers directly from driver training school, which lowered the average pay for these carriers, but they did not reduce pay rates. It was just a different driver experience pool,” Costello said.
Fleets responding to the survey also reported offering significant benefit packages in order to attract drivers including paid leave, insurance, meals and other incidentals and retirement plans. For example, more than 90% of truckload carriers, less-than-truckload carriers and private fleets surveyed offered drivers paid leave and health insurance.
“What these figures show is that being a truck driver can be a path to a middle class lifestyle for millions of Americans,” Costello said. “With the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic crisis not yet fully clear, we can say that a career in trucking could be a well-paying solution for some of the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs so far this year.”
The full 2020 ATA Driver Compensation Study, which includes important information for benchmarking and recruiting and retention, is available for purchase through ATA Business Solutions.
ATA Hails USMCA Implementation Critical Trade Pact Went Into Effect July 1
Arlington, VA… The American Trucking Associations thanked leaders in the United States, Canada and Mexico for their work in crafting a new continental trade agreement – the US-Canada-Mexico Agreement.
“This is a tremendous day,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear, “thanks to the efforts of many people in our three nations, USMCA is officially taking effect. It is the first significant revision in our nation’s trading relationship in nearly three decades and will foster growth in all three nations at a time when the economy can use a shot in the arm.”
Ratified in January, the USMCA is projected to increase annual U.S. exports to Canada and Mexico by a combined $33 billion above the current NAFTA baseline. The agreement is also expected to increase U.S. GDP by $68 billion, stimulating broad sectors of the economy that the trucking industry services, like agriculture and manufacturing.
“Very little changes for trucking today, but going forward, USMCA will not only keep industry in North America, benefiting trucking, it will likely attract new factories and economic activity, which will lead to more trucking activity,” said ATA Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of International Trade Policy & Cross-Border Operations Bob Costello. “International trade, and specifically trade with the US and Canada and Mexico are tremendous drivers of freight for our industry. I expect that growth related to USMCA will provide a real boost for trucking in the coming years.”
In 2019, trucking moved 67% of the surface trade with Canada and 84% of it with Mexico, and that activity supported 89,500 full-time jobs in the industry, including nearly 60,000 full time U.S. truck drivers, which made $3.28 billion in wages not including benefits.
“USMCA is an important updated to an old NAFTA agreement. This new agreement should spur new production and trucking activity throughout the continent, which will benefit US trucking operations,” Spear said. “Without this new agreement, our economy would’ve been at risk for losing industry and jobs to other parts of the world, hurting US trucking companies.”