Latest Industry News Briefs Courtesy of PMTA
Trucking Cares Foundation Donates to Ukraine Relief Efforts
Arlington, VA… The trucking industry’s charitable arm – the Trucking Cares Foundation – announced it was donating more than $40,000 to a trio of organizations involved in Ukrainian humanitarian relief efforts.
“The war unfolding in Ukraine is a terrible tragedy,” said TCF Chairman Phil Byrd, president and CEO of Bulldog Hiway Express. “The trucking industry stands with the Ukrainian people and we’re proud to do even a little bit to ease their suffering.”
The Trucking Cares Foundation board approved donations totaling $42,500 to three organizations involved in relief efforts in Ukraine and its neighbors: Save the Children, the International Red Cross and the United Nations Children's Fund. These organizations have been recommended by the group Trucking & Logistics Professionals for Ukraine, who have launched a fundraising and awareness campaign in response to the crisis.
“The Trucking Cares Foundation was established to help mobilize the trucking industry in response to disasters – natural and manmade – so providing relief and comfort to Ukrainians suffering as a result of this war is something we are called to do,” said American Trucking Associations Chairman Harold Sumerford Jr., CEO of J&M Tank Lines and the newest member of the TCF Founders Club.
For more information on the Trucking Cares Foundation, visit https://www.truckingcares.org/
ATA Truck Tonnage Index Unchanged in February
Arlington, Va… American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index was unchanged in February after increasing 0.4% in January. In February, the index equaled 115.3 (2015=100) the same as January.
“February was the first month that the index didn’t increase since July,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Despite a string of gains, the index is still off 1.8% from March 2020. The index is also off 4.2% from the all-time high in August 2019. It is important to note that ATA’s data is dominated by contract freight, not spot market.
“Demand for trucking freight services remains strong, but for-hire contract carriers are capacity constrained due to the driver and equipment markets. The spot market has been surging as these carriers can’t haul all of the freight they are asked to move,” he said. “So the fact that the tonnage index hasn’t fully recovered is a supply problem, not a lack of demand. Other ATA data shows that for-hire carriers are operating around 7% fewer trucks, both company and independent contractor equipment, than prior to the pandemic.”
January’s increase was revised down slightly from our February 22 press release.
Compared with February 2021, the SA index increased 2.4%, which was the sixth straight year-over-year gain and the largest over that period. In January, the index was up 0.9% from a year earlier. In 2022, year-to-date and compared with same period in 2021, tonnage was up 1.7%.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 104.3 in February, 4.3% below the January level (109). 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 72.5% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.23 billion tons of freight in 2020. Motor carriers collected $732.3 billion, or 80.4% 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 Statement on Nomination of Robin Hutcheson to Lead FMCSA
Arlington, VA… The American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear issued this statement on the nomination of Robin Hutcheson to serve as administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:
“We congratulate Deputy Administrator Hutcheson on her nomination to head FMCSA, and we support her swift confirmation by the Senate. She has deep experience in transportation administration, having previously served as director of public works for the City of Minneapolis and transportation director for Salt Lake City, which makes her well-qualified and prepared for this vital role. Her commitment to working with our industry to improve safety is unwavering.
"Her continued leadership comes at a critical time for the agency, as the pandemic, natural disasters, workforce shortages, and other factors continue to challenge the freight economy in ways never seen before. America’s trucking industry is the backbone of our economy, and we depend on partners in government who value data and stakeholder input to meet real-world needs and ensure the safe movement of freight across our nation’s highways. That’s particularly timely now, as DOT works to implement the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will strengthen highway safety standards while helping our industry meet the nation’s growing freight demands.”
ATA Calls on Governor Abbott to Rescind his Redundant Inspection Initiative
Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear issued the following statement regarding Governor Greg Abbott's enhanced safety inspection initiative for commercial trucks entering Texas through Mexico:
“The American Trucking Associations is an unwavering supporter of border security, but the new inspection scheme in Texas is wholly flawed, redundant and adding considerable weight on an already strained supply chain.
“These duplicative screenings of commercial vehicles on our southern border are unleashing a negative, tangible downstream impact, hurting businesses and employees in other parts of the country who have no say and no responsibility over federal border policy. As we saw recently along the northern border, it doesn’t take long for factories to begin closing their doors after a vital commercial artery such as this one gets pinched.
“In 2021, there were nearly 3.3 million loaded truck entries from Mexico – our largest trading partner – into the U.S. through Texas ports, carrying a wide range of essentials from perishable food items, to key components needed for the manufacture of cars. Adding additional layers of new screening for motor carriers – who are already subject to significant screening and have a strong record of compliance – provides little safety benefit, while the congestion and impact on our already stressed supply chain will cause the price of goods to rise.
“Governor Abbott is directly responsible for applying these new senseless inspections on our industry as well as the adverse impact they are having on the economy and hardworking Americans, including truckers. We ask that the Governor scrap his misguided scheme immediately.”
ATA Announces 2022 Law Enforcement Advisory Board
Arlington, VA… The American Trucking Associations recently unveiled its 2022 Law Enforcement Advisory Board—a panel formed last year to advise the ATA Federation on ways to grow and strengthen relationships between the trucking industry and law enforcement organizations across the country.
The board is comprised of ATA members who have previous experience in federal, state, and local law enforcement, as well as current and retired law enforcement officials who’ve contributed positively to the partnership between both groups. The 2022 LEAB has 37 members in total who combine for over 900 years of law enforcement experience.
Fred Fakkema, vice president of safety and compliance for Zonar Systems, will serve as this year’s LEAB Chairman. Prior to joining Zonar, Fakkema served 25 years in the Washington State Patrol.
“By building bridges between the trucking community and law enforcement, we can combine our resources and align them in service of our common goal to increase safety across America’s highways,” said LEAB Chairman Fred Fakkema. “These individuals have deep and shared experience across industry and law enforcement, and ATA’s Law Enforcement Advisory Board has created a platform where their expertise can be applied in a constructive and purposeful way—with benefits for the entire motoring public.”
This year’s LEAB is subdivided into six working groups focused on specific issue sets:
* Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety and Security,
* Distracted Driving,
* Truck Parking,
* Training Accessibility,
* Human Trafficking, and
* Enforcement Standardization.
Dennis Bailey, a fleet safety manager for Walmart Supply Chain Transportation, and Mark Savage, director of connected truck solutions at Drivewyze, will serve as the LEAB’s vice chairs. Todd Armstrong, a master sergeant in the Illinois State Police, will serve as LEAB’s law enforcement outreach advisor. Derek Barrs, senior program manager at HTNB Corporation, will serve as industry outreach advisor. Barrs previously served 28 years in law enforcement, most recently as chief of commercial vehicle enforcement for the Florida Highway Patrol.
The other members of the 2022 LEAB are:
* Chris Harris, ABF Freight System
* Christopher Morris, U.S. Xpress
* Jeff Ferber, J.B. Hunt
* David Lorenzen, Iowa Department of Transportation
* John McKown, TForce Freight
* Myron Rau, South Dakota Trucking Association
* Dana Moore, Texas Trucking Association
* Austin Collins, ABF Freight System
* James Farris, Louisiana State Police
* Parker Harrison, Old Dominion Freight Line
* Mike Martin, Old Dominion Freight Line
* Jim Kochenderfer, Werner Enterprises
* Butch Day, Yellow Corporation
* Tim Cardwell, National High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Assistance Center
* Jeffrey Tippit, City of La Porte Police Department
* Thomas Fuller, Elite Training & Consulting
* John Rigney, Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association
* Keith Eoff, J.B. Hunt
* Marc Nichols, Drivewyze
* Donnie Ware, ABF Freight System
* Mark Riordan, The Friedkin Group
* Christopher Vinson, Midlothian Police Department
* Rex Railsback, Hazmat Safety Professionals
* Ray Miller, McAnally Wilkins Insurance
* Jeff DeVere, DeVere Public Affairs and Consulting
* Steve Dowling, Covenant Logistics
* Rocco Marrari, EBE Technologies
* Steve Keppler, Scopelitis Consulting
* Jake Elovirta, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA)
* Dennis Bailey, Walmart
* Steve Wilhelms, Lee Trans
* Allen Boyd, Walmart
* Janice Mulanix, PrePass Safety Alliance
The LEAB members have current or previous affiliation with the following 27 law enforcement entities:
* Iowa Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Enforcement Bureau
* Louisiana State Police
* HIDTA Assistance Center
* City of La Porte, Texas Police Department
* Florida Highway Patrol
* Fort Smith, Arkansas Police Department
* California Highway Patrol
* Gassaway, West Virginia Police Department
* Midlothian, Texas Police Department
* Illinois State Police
* Texas Department of Public Safety
* South Dakota Highway Patrol
* Howard County, Maryland Police
* Midland, Texas Police Department
* Kansas Highway Patrol
* Dallas, Texas Police Department
* Burlington, Vermont Police Department
* City of Leclaire, Iowa Police Department
* Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
* Pennsylvania State Police
* Rogers, Arkansas Police Department
* Colorado State Patrol
* Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office, Nebraska
* North Carolina State Highway Patrol
* New York State Police
* Ocean City, Maryland Police Department
* Alabama State Troopers
* Pennsylvania Game Commission
* Washington State Police
“Truckers are the eyes and ears of America’s highways,” said LEAB vice chair Dennis Bailey. “The trucking industry can offer a lot to the law enforcement community. Likewise, we can learn a lot from them, and this Board provides an excellent venue to establish that dialogue and an open exchange of ideas.”
Trucking Applauds Senate Passage of Ocean Shipping Reform Act
Arlington, VA… The American Trucking Associations is cheering passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, S. 3580, which cleared the U.S. Senate by voice vote this afternoon. Introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD), the bill represents the first major update for laws governing U.S. maritime port operations in more than 20 years.
“For too long, foreign-owned ocean carriers have been fleecing American truckers and consumers to the tune of billions of dollars,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “These malign business practices have allowed foreign companies to reap record profits while slowing the movement of freight through the U.S. supply chain. We thank Senators Klobuchar and Thune for their bipartisan leadership, and we urge House and Senate negotiators to quickly reconcile their versions of this critical legislation so that the President can sign it into law.”
The legislation is needed to end abusive practices imposed on American trucking companies at U.S. maritime ports by ocean carriers, most of which are foreign-owned. Specifically, the trucking industry seeks relief from excessive detention and demurrage charges—unfair fees levied on motor carriers by ocean carriers and marine terminal operators when shipping containers are not moved on schedule, even though delays are typically due to factors entirely outside truckers’ control and often the result of inefficiencies caused by the ocean carriers themselves.
The legislation mandates a new rulemaking by the Federal Maritime Commission to prohibit unjust and unreasonable detention and demurrage practices, including an examination of the appropriate billing parties for those charges.
“Ensuring fair practices at our ports is critical to ensuring goods get from docks to warehouses and store shelves,” said Jon Eisen, director of ATA’s Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference. “The Ocean Shipping Reform Act is a badly-needed step to modernize the law governing ocean freight and help restore a fair marketplace for motor carriers servicing our ports.”
Statement of ATA President and CEO Chris Spear on FedEx’s Fred Smith
Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear issued the following statement after FedEx Corp. founder Fred Smith announced he was stepping down as CEO but remaining executive chairman of the company:
“There is no bigger titan in trucking and transportation than Fred Smith. Over the course of five decades, Fred built FedEx from the ground up into one of the most iconic and innovative companies the world has ever known. His contributions have not only benefited our industry; they have helped transform our economy and forever changed the way we all live.
“As he steps back from day-to-day operations to serve as executive chairman, Fred Smith can take enormous pride in the lasting legacy he’s achieved through his hard work, ingenuity and vision. His leadership will forever be felt and appreciated by the millions of Americans who work in trucking and the countless more who benefit from its services.
“We also congratulate Raj Subramaniam on his promotion to become FedEx Corporation’s President and CEO, and look forward to working with him as he leads FedEx into its next chapter of innovation and success.”
Oregon State Agencies Encourage Medium- And Heavy-Duty Vehicle Owners To Prepare Early For Diesel Retrofit Compliance
PORTLAND, OR… “Get Ready!” is the message the Department of Environmental Quality, and the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Driver & Motor Vehicle Services Division and Commerce and Compliance Division want to convey to motor carriers and owners of certain diesel-powered vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 14,000 lbs. DEQ’s new Diesel Retrofit Compliance Program provides an option to renew vehicle registration if the vehicle is subject to the Jan. 1, 2023 registration renewal phase-out. Preparing now will allow time for motor carriers and diesel-powered vehicle owners to get equipment evaluated and access the approved retrofit technology.
In 2019, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 2007 to help reduce pollution on the state’s roadways and protect the health of our most vulnerable populations. It states that beginning in 2023, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles powered by a 1996 or older diesel engine and with an owner address in Clackamas, Multnomah and/or Washington counties may not renew registrations unless they are equipped with approved retrofit technology and certified by DEQ.
“The transportation sector is responsible for a significant portion of air pollution in Oregon and older diesel trucks emit ten or more times the pollution of newer engines. With that in mind, we believe the Diesel Retrofit Compliance Program helps to address the many trucks producing harmful emissions as they conduct business throughout the Portland Metro area and across the state,” said DEQ’s Air Quality Division Administrator Ali Mirzakhalili. “We are asking fleet owners and motor carriers to investigate the new rules now, so they can prepare for the changes to come.”
The two vehicle weight classifications categorized in HB 2007 are as follows:
* Medium-duty: A gross vehicle weight rating of 14,001 – 26,000 lbs., such as certain box trucks, flatbed or service trucks and others.
* Heavy-duty: A gross vehicle weight rating of over 26,000 lbs., such as dump trucks, cement trucks, tractor-trailers and others.
DEQ maintains a list of On Road Manufacturer Authorized Installers that can provide consultation to help vehicle owners determine which approved retrofit technology to consider. The agency recommends checking with an Approved Retrofit Installer as soon as possible to ensure the availability and timely installation of the applicable technology. In addition, DEQ offers annual Diesel Emissions Mitigation Grants to address emissions from a wide array of diesel equipment operating in Oregon. The 2022 grant application process will open in April and owners of qualified medium- and heavy-duty trucks are invited to apply for funding to support the installation of diesel particulate filters.
Exemptions to the Diesel Retrofit Compliance Program include:
* Farm vehicles, as defined by ORS 805.300;
* Farm tractors;
* Implements of husbandry;
* Vehicles used exclusively as a training vehicle;
* An emergency vehicle;
* An ambulance;
* Vehicles used primarily to transport logs, as defined in ORS 801.355;
* Heavy-duty trucks operated for 5,000 miles or fewer on Oregon state highways during one calendar year; or
* Carriers with a fleet size of five or fewer heavy-duty trucks
Those with questions about registrations or exemptions of medium-duty vehicles should contact Oregon Driver & Motor Vehicle Services Division at 503-945-5000. Questions about heavy-duty vehicle registrations or exemptions should go to the ODOT - Commerce and Compliance Division at [email protected] or 503-378-6699.
OOIDA: Truckers Respond To White House Trucking Action Plan Event
“The Biden Trucking Action Plan remains a mixed bag of policies intended to improve jobs and employment opportunities within the industry. We applaud the Administration for adding truck parking to the plan and agree that the lack of parking across the country is about more than just inconvenience. OOIDA is also pleased that DOT along with other federal agencies has started gathering information on critical issues like detention time and driver compensation. However, drivers are still waiting on meaningful measures that will help address these problems. Today’s update notes significant progress on establishing apprenticeship programs and plenty of funding to help states expedite CDLs , but we have yet to really see any substantive actions that can help keep new or current drivers in the industry long-term.”
OOIDA Applauds Bipartisan Legislation To Reverse Outdated Law That Denies Truckers Overtime Pay
Each and every day, and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s truck drivers have been essential to keeping grocery shelves stocked and critical medical supplies moving across our nation’s highways. Truckers frequently work 50, 60,
or even 70 hours a week to get their job done. But unbelievably, federal law denies truckers guaranteed overtime pay for all these hours they work.
To rectify this situation, Representative Andy Levin (D-MI) introduced bipartisan legislation, the Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act, to ensure that truckers are finally paid the overtime wages they deserve. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has long advocated for this change, and applauds Rep. Levin for standing up for America’s hard-working professional drivers.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which sets federal policies on minimum wage and other labor protections, currently exempts truckers from its general requirement to pay employees time-and-a-half after 40 hours in a workweek. While this exemption was originally designed to prevent truckers from working too many hours, it now actually prevents truckers from being fairly compensated for all the hours they work.
“We know that for too long, too many people throughout the supply chain have placed little or no value on a driver’s time. This is partly because of the FLSA overtime exemption,” said Todd Spencer, President & CEO of OOIDA. “Shippers, receivers and carriers have never been forced to account for all the hours that they keep drivers waiting, since it costs them nothing to do so. By repealing the FLSA exemption, this bill would help make sure that drivers are compensated for all the hours they work. We thank Rep. Levin for finally standing up for truckers on this issue.”
In addition to compensating drivers fairly, OOIDA believes that this legislation will help to
reduce supply chain delays. “If drivers are finally going to be paid for the time they spend at
loading docks, that should incentivize shippers and receivers to get them loaded or unloaded and
keep them moving,” Spencer continued.
The U.S. Department of Transportation also recognizes the importance of repealing this exemption which it recommended in its recent Supply Chain Assessment of the Transportation Industrial Base as a way to improve supply chain performance.
Highway safety advocates have endorsed the legislation, recognizing the connection between overtime pay and retaining safe, experienced drivers.
Harry Adler, Principal at the Institute for Safer Trucking -“Guaranteeing overtime pay will help retain experienced truck drivers, who are safer and much less likely to be involved in a collision. The Institute for Safer Trucking supports this long overdue safety solution.”
Truck Safety Coalition Dawn King, TSC President & Board Member, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH)-“Every second Congress allows the FLSA Motor Carrier
Exemption to exist, lives are recklessly and needlessly put at risk. I know firsthand the ultimate price that is paid by the failure to fairly compensate truck drivers for their time. We thank Rep. Levin for taking action to eliminate this lethal loophole. The GOT Truckers Act will undoubtedly save lives and substantially reduce truck crash deaths and injuries.”
The Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act also has the support of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 150,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the Greater Kansas City, Mo., area.