Latest Industry News Briefs Courtesy of PMTA

March 2023

ATA Warns Congress Against Allowing California to Set National Emissions Rules

 WASHINGTON, DC… American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear recently  told Congress that the industry needed realistic national timelines and targets to reduce emissions, rather than allowing California and other states to drive standards.

“The trucking industry starts with ‘yes,’ Spear testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today. “ATA worked with the Environmental Protection Agency, producing Phases I and II emission reduction rules, as well as the SmartWay Transport Partnership – which has been a model of public-private cooperation. To date, 98.5% of all emissions have been removed from our tailpipes.  In fact, 60 trucks today emit what one truck emitted in 1988.”

Spear emphasized that those gains, which include reductions of millions of tons of carbon, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions, were the result of collaborative regulatory processes and realistic goals.

“This is not a debate about if we get to zero, but when. – we’ll get there, just not on the timelines proposed by California. By excluding our industry in a mad dash to zero makes their timeline and targets not only unachievable… but guarantees they will fail,” Spear said. “To get to zero, we must be honest and transparent about the road ahead. Sourcing rare minerals needed for millions of 5,000 pounds of truck batteries, the infrastructure needed to charge them and the additional electricity needed to power our trucks – full scale – doesn’t yet exist… and won’t if you allow California to set the nation’s standard.”

If California’s proposals are allowed to set targets and timelines for emissions reductions, Spear said it will certainly impact the industry and the supply chain – and Americans will feel those disruptions.

“Over the next decade, trucks will be tasked with moving 2.4 billion more tons of freight than they do today – the moment that slows or stops, Americans, your constituents, will want answers,” he said. “The responsible approach is also the realistic approach.  Achievable timelines and targets matter. We’re committed to a cleaner environment – we’ve proven that.  We simply ask that we be realistic about the path forward.  Do that, and we’ll post the best environmental gains possible.”

Repeal Heavy-Duty Excise Tax and Get Cleaner Trucks on Our Roads, Transportation Groups Urge Congress

Washington, DC… A group of transportation and trucking stakeholders is calling on Congress to repeal the Federal Excise Tax (FET) on heavy-duty commercial vehicles. This century-old tax is impeding the deployment of cleaner, more environmentally friendly trucks on our nation's roads, according to a letter from the American Trucking Associations, American Truck Dealers, and Zero Emission Transportation Association sent to Congressional leadership.

The heavy-duty excise tax was established in 1917 to defray the costs of World War I and today adds 12% to the cost of a new truck, creating a major disincentive for trucking fleets small and large to modernize their equipment and replace older tractors with new, low-emission power units. The FET can add more than $50,000 to the price of the latest low- or zero-emission vehicle, making these investments cost-prohibitive for smaller fleets. Over 90% of U.S. motor carriers operate six or fewer trucks.

“If Congress is serious about safety, the environment and jobs, then repealing the FET should be front-burner," said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. "It’s time to shelve this World War I era tax and starting putting the best equipment on our roads.”

“The federal government wants heavy-duty trucks to be cleaner or emission free, but slaps a 12 percent tax on the newest, greenest trucks. If the goal is to reduce emissions, repealing the counterproductive FET is a good place to start,” said Scott McCandless, ATD Chairman and President of McCandless Truck Center LLC of Aurora, Colo.

"The federal excise tax harms American truckers and fleet operators by inflating the cost of heavy-duty trucks and limiting access to the many economic and public health benefits that come with transportation electrification," said Albert Gore, executive director at ZETA. "Medium and heavy-duty trucks account for 24% of all transportation carbon emissions in the United States but represent only 4% of vehicles on the road. It is time to accelerate our movement towards modernized transportation fleets, and we must enable our nation's fleet operators and truckers to join in this effort." 

In the 117th Congress, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Representatives Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) and Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) introduced the Modern, Clean, and Safe Trucks Act (H.R. 8116/S. 2435), bipartisan and bicameral legislation to repeal the tax.

PDA Releases 2022 Fourth Quarter Driver Feedback Data

Brentwood, TN… PDA released data  compiled from thousands of phone calls with professional truck drivers during the fourth quarter of 2022.  The data was gathered as part of PDA’s efforts to help trucking companies curb turnover while providing accurate and actionable data for addressing their drivers’ concerns.

 Beginning in Q3 of 2022 and continuing through Q4, PDA identified a shift in driver feedback data showing compensation issues taking over as the top driver concern.  This is the first time since PDA began collecting driver feedback data nearly five years ago that an issue, other than equipment, has been the top driver complaint.

 “Seeing compensation issues top the list in Q4 was not a surprise,” said Scott Dismuke, PDA’s vice president of operations.  “The softening freight market has clearly resulted in a rise in driver frustration regarding compensation, particularly as it relates to miles.  Miles-related compensation issues rose by nine percent from Q3 to Q4 and since Q1 of 2022, miles-related compensation issues are up 21 percentage points.”

 Ironically, while miles-related compensation issues have been on the rise, drivers complaining about their pay rate has declined.  During Q4, driver’s complaints about their pay rate have gone down by 10 percentage points from Q3 totals.

 “Pay rates have been going up consistently over the last couple of years during the COVID-related freight boom,” said Dismuke.  “The drop in pay rate complaints is a clear indication that pay rates are not the problem; it is drivers having the ability to log consistent miles to meet their income expectations.  At the end of the day, it’s all about miles.  If drivers are not able to consistently log miles, then is does not matter how high your pay rate is.”

 Dismuke noted that increasing driver frustration with compensation and miles is also causing an increase in turnover rates. 

 “PDA has seen an uptick in turnover in the last two quarters of 2022,” stated Dismuke.  “Drivers that entered the market during the freight boom of the last couple of years seem to be struggling with the softening freight market the most.  They are experiencing their first freight slowdown and waiting longer for freight is not only frustrating but something they have yet to experience.”

 From a percentage standpoint, overall equipment issues dropped for the fourth quarter in a row, but mechanical/breakdown issues were up six percentage points from Q3 to Q4.  Dismuke noted that while the percentage of complaints has gone down, the number of drivers complaining about equipment has remained the same.  

 “While the percentage has dropped nearly six points from Q1 relative to other categories, the total number of complaints remains basically the same,” said Dismuke.  “Equipment issues continue to be a big source of frustration for drivers and play a role in the driver’s ability to log consistent miles, therefore affecting their compensation.  So, while equipment issues have dropped to the second highest issue for drivers, they still play a significant role in driver turnover.” 

OOIDA Sends Letter To The Senate's HELP Committee Leadership

The Honorable Bernie Sanders   

The Honorable Bill Cassidy


Dear Chairman Sanders and Ranking Member Cassidy:

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association represents 150,000 owner-operators leased to motor carriers, small-business motor carriers with their own operating authority, and employee truck drivers. We oppose Ms. Julie Su’s nomination to lead the Department of Labor and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions must reject her nomination in order to protect the livelihoods and careers of the hard-working truckers we represent. Her record as California Labor Commissioner and Secretary for the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, including her support for AB5 and overseeing its disastrous implementation, demonstrates she would pursue policies that threaten our members’ ability to use a business model they have properly and beneficially used for decades.

AB5 in California, which implements the ABC Test to classify workers, essentially requires that an owner-operator working with a carrier through a lease agreement must be classified as an employee. This is contrary to decades of practice as well as federal laws and regulations that allow for owner-operators to be independent contractors. This is the most disruptive worker classification policy to be enacted anywhere at the state or federal level.

When asked about AB5 in an interview, Ms. Su responded that it was meant to address misclassification that has “resulted in the day labor-ization of our economy.” She continued, “Instead of the steady, consistent, reliable work, people end up basically in odd jobs and you’re hustling all the time, right? So AB 5 is meant to address that kind of misclassification so that we can bring more people who should be under the protection of our labor laws back on that floor.”

These comments demonstrate either an ignorance of the owner-operator model in trucking or an overly broad generalization of how different workers operate as independent contractors. For the tens of thousands of truckers who have enjoyed a successful career as an owner-operator, it would come as a surprise to learn that their business represents an “odd job” in need of fixing.

It has been frustrating enough for small-business truckers that the California legislature ignored their concerns when enacting AB5. But the implementation of the law has been just as, if not more, disappointing. For months after the law was enacted, OOIDA sought guidance about how the law would apply in the trucking industry and how small businesses and independent contractors could potentially comply. Despite our efforts, we were left with essentially no guidance before the law took effect. The law and its haphazard rollout has forced independent contractor truckers to leave the state of California, become an employee, attempt to reconfigure their business, operate under a cloud of uncertainty, or abandon the trucking profession altogether.

For these reasons, we are concerned that Ms. Su would continue to pursue an ideologically-motivated agenda towards worker classification that ignores the thousands of small-business truckers that depend on the ability to work as an independent contractor. Make no mistake, if Ms. Su were to advance the same policies that she championed in California, it would force hundreds of thousands of truckers to change their business model and put their livelihood in jeopardy. We are especially concerned with her nomination at a time when the Department of Labor is working on an updated worker classification rule. There is the potential for this rule to make some improvements to worker classification at the federal level, but if Ms. Su is confirmed to lead the Department, we fear that we will see a repeat of what’s happened in California.

Our association is in a unique position to offer an important perspective on labor issues because we are the only trade association dedicated to representing the interests of truckers who make their living out on the road. Unfortunately, these views have been left out of discussions involving worker classification. There is certainly misclassification in trucking, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution to address the problem. We have seen proposals that would implement a much too broad definition of employee and force owner-operators to work as employees, as well as proposals that would allow motor carriers to exert greater control over owner-operators while avoiding scrutiny on the classification issue.

We stand ready to work with Senators to address misclassification and improve working conditions in the trucking industry. But we believe that Ms. Su’s confirmation would make it extremely difficult to fix these issues in a way that benefits America’s truckers.

Thank you,

Todd Spencer              

President & CEO

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Inc.

International Roadcheck Is May 16-18 with Emphasis on ABS and Cargo Securement

  Washington, DC…  The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has announced May 16-18 as this year’s International Roadcheck. International Roadcheck is a high-visibility, high-volume 72-hour inspection and enforcement event where CVSA-certified inspectors in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will conduct inspections of commercial motor vehicles and drivers at weigh/inspection stations, designated inspection areas and along roadways. 

This year, inspectors will focus on anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and cargo securement to highlight the importance of those aspects of vehicle safety. Although ABS violations are not out-of-service violations, ABS play a critical role in reducing the risk of collisions by preventing the wheels from locking up or skidding, allowing a driver to maintain control of the vehicle while braking. In addition, improper cargo securement poses a serious risk to drivers and other motorists by adversely affecting the vehicle’s maneuverability, or worse, causing unsecured loads to fall, resulting in traffic hazards and vehicle collisions.

During International Roadcheck, inspectors will conduct their usual roadside safety inspections of commercial motor vehicles and drivers. Data will be gathered from those three days and shared later this year, as a snapshot of the state of commercial motor vehicle and driver safety.

International Roadcheck also provides an opportunity to educate the motor carrier industry and general public about the importance of safe commercial motor vehicle operations and the North American Standard Inspection Program.

  During a routine North American Standard Level I Inspection, inspectors focus on two areas – driver and vehicle safety compliance. 

* Vehicle safety – Inspectors will ensure the vehicle’s brake systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft components, driver’s seat, fuel and exhaust systems, frames, lighting devices, steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, wheels, rims, hubs and windshield wipers are compliant with regulations. Inspections of motorcoaches, passenger vans and other passenger-carrying vehicles also include emergency exits, seating, and electrical cables and systems in the engine and battery compartments.

* Driver safety – Inspectors will check the driver’s operating credentials, hours-of-service documentation, status in the drug and alcohol clearinghouse, seat belt usage, and for alcohol and/or drug impairment. 

Vehicles that successfully pass a Level I or Level V Inspection without any critical vehicle inspection item violations may receive a CVSA decal, which is valid for three months. If the inspector does identify critical vehicle inspection item violations, as outlined in the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria, the vehicle will be restricted from operating until the identified out-of-service conditions have been corrected. Inspectors may also restrict the driver from operating if the driver is found to have driver out-of-service violations, such as not possessing a valid or necessary operating license or exhibiting signs of impairment.

CVSA’s law enforcement member jurisdictions in cities, states, districts, provinces and territories in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. participate in International Roadcheck with support from trucking associations, transportation safety organizations and federal agencies, such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Transport Canada and Mexico’s Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation.

Heavy-Duty Repair Revenues Recover to Pre-Pandemic Levels According to New Report

Orlando, FL… Heavy-duty repair shop revenue appears to be climbing back to pre-pandemic form in 2022, according to the third annual State of Heavy-Duty Repair report issued by Fullbay, in partnership with ATA’s Technology & Maintenance Council.

“This year’s report provides repair shops with essential insights and best practices to run their business,” said Fullbay CEO Patrick McKittrick. “The report offers commercial repair data you can’t find anywhere else with learnings on shop management, labor challenges and other current industry issues. It’s all designed to provide shops with a tool to benchmark their business.”

Among the key findings of this year’s report:

* 76% of shops raised their labor rates in 2022, 24% did not.

* 25% of shops surveyed were pulling in between $1 to $2 million each year, while 17% reported revenue between $250,001 and $500,000.

* 19.8% of shops reported having a better handle on their P&L, as compared to only 9.8% last year.

“At TMC, we have been helping industry professionals improve maintenance and maintenance management for decades, and this report is an excellent way to better accomplish that goal,” said TMC Executive Director Robert Braswell. “Facing obstacles isn’t new for repair shops; our recommended practices, which are included throughout the report, offer proper assistance for repair shops looking for guidance dealing with these challenges.”

The report’s data is based on survey responses from more than 1600 individuals from shops in North America, Australia and New Zealand, across all avenues of the commercial freight, logistics, and repair industries. In addition, more than 500 businesses across North America using the Fullbay platform were sampled for real-world shop data. Results were anonymized and those surveyed included both customers of Fullbay and non-customers.

Love’s awards Gemini drivers $2.3 million in safety bonuses

 OKLAHOMA CITY, OK…  Love's Travel Stops recently awarded 140 Gemini Motor Transport drivers more than $2.3 million in bonuses for their commitment to safety last year. Gemini, a member of the Love's Family of Companies, operates a fleet of more than 1,600 drivers who transport fuel to Love's Travel Stops across the country.

"The safety of our drivers and those on the roadways around us is our top priority and rewarding drivers for maintaining Gemini’s high standard of safety is exciting to see,” said Jeremy Gravely, director of Gemini. “The Safe Drivers Program is an investment that’s unmatched in the industry, and one that’s crucial to the success of Gemini and Love’s Travel Stops.”

 Bonuses are based on safety credits awarded to drivers on an annual basis. To earn one credit, drivers must remain accident- and ticket-free and have no fuel-related incidents over the course of one year. Drivers must also pass all U.S. Department of Transportation and Gemini inspections and adhere to Gemini's stringent safety policies. Once drivers collect five safety credits, they're eligible to receive the bonus.

 Bonuses are given on a five and 10-year basis. This year, 96 recipients received a five-year bonus, and 44 recipients received a 10-year bonus. Gemini drivers have been paid more than $24 million in safety bonuses through the safety credit program. 

Love’s recently  announced that Gemini is continuing its commitment to safety in 2023 by adding 325 new trucks and replacing 250 older-mileage trucks. If you’re interested in joining the company, visit

CVSA Opens Nominations for 2023 International Driver Excellence Award

  Washington, DC…  The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is now accepting nominations for its International Driver Excellence Award (IDEA), an annual award that recognizes an extraordinary professional commercial motor vehicle driver and their commitment to public safety.

In addition, the Alliance is pleased to announce that it has increased the monetary award amount for the IDEA winner, doubling it from the previous amount of $2,500, to $5,000 this year. 

The 2023 IDEA recipient (and a guest) will also receive complimentary airfare to Grapevine, Texas, along with a two-night, one-room hotel stay at the Gaylord Texan, to attend the CVSA Annual Conference and Exhibitionawards luncheon where they will receive their check and crystal trophy.

Nominees must have: 

* At least 25 cumulative years of crash-free driving in a commercial motor vehicle with a clean driving record for the past three years

* No felony convictions

* No safety-related driving suspensions in the past three years

* No driver violations in the past three years, excluding form and manner violations

CVSA's simplified application enables individuals to easily fill out the nomination form and submit the required supporting documentation, all online. Access the 2023 IDEA online nomination submission form.

As the leading organization working to improve commercial motor vehicle safety and enforcement by providing guidance, education and advocacy for enforcement and industry across North America, CVSA recognizes the exceptional careers of professional commercial motor vehicle drivers and their commitment to public safety through this award program. Therefore, IDEA is open to the entire commercial motor vehicle industry. There are no stipulations that nominees must be a member of or affiliated with CVSA to apply.

CTA Asks U.S. Ambassador to Support Removal of U.S. Vaccine Mandate

 TORONTO…  The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) recently wrote to U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Cohen to solicit the Ambassador’s support in having the U.S. vaccine mandate at the land border removed for all non-U.S. citizens, including Canadian truck drivers crossing the Canada-U.S. border.

 In its correspondence, CTA highlighted that the Alliance and the American Trucking Associations (ATA) have continued to urge both governments to remain aligned regarding the removal of border restrictions, while noting that COVID restrictions across North America and worldwide continue to be eased.

 CTA also focused on the positive effect of allowing Canadian truck drivers currently ineligible to cross the border the ability to support Canada-U.S. trade, U.S. businesses and commerce, and significantly increase freight capacity, as supply chain challenges continue to persist and as we head into an unsteady economic period.

 The Alliance has also continued to echo calls to remove the U.S. vaccine mandate by the Northern Border Caucus, multiple northern mayors and governors, and by signing a letter of support with the 55 U.S. Congress members urging President Biden to remove the U.S. border restrictions as soon as possible. 

CTA continues to work with ATA on this issue and remains optimistic that additional information will be available in the coming weeks.

ATA Voices Support for Bipartisan, Bicameral Effort to Repeal Truck Excise Tax

Washington, DC… The American Trucking Associations is hailing congressional leaders for their efforts to repeal the antiquated federal excise tax on the purchase of new trucks.

“The federal excise tax on purchases of trucks adds nearly $25,000 to the cost of new equipment – slowing deployment of safer and more environmentally friendly vehicles,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “This more than 100-year-old tax – first instituted to support American troops during the First World War, has far outlived its usefulness and now acts as an impediment to creating jobs, reducing emissions and improving highway safety.”

The Modern Clean and Safe Trucks Act of 2023 was introduced in both the House and Senate by a bipartisan coalition of Congressmen and Senators, led by Reps. Doug LaMalfa, Chris Pappas, Earl Blumenauer and Darin LaHood in the House and Sens. Ben Cardin and Todd Young in the Senate.  The FET is currently the highest percentage excise tax – at 12 percent - levied on any product.

“ATA thanks these champions for their leadership on this critical issue. We encourage Congress to take up and pass this legislation, an important step that will lead to both safer highways and decreased emissions,” said Spear.

ATA Unveils 2023 Law Enforcement Advisory Board

 Washington, DC… The American Trucking Associations unveiled its 2023 Law Enforcement Advisory Board—a panel formed in 2021 to advise the ATA Federation on strategies 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 2023 LEAB has 38 members in total whose collective law enforcement experience totals over 900 years.

Fred Fakkema, vice president of safety and compliance for Zonar Systems, will once again serve as LEAB Chairman. Prior to joining Zonar, Fakkema served 25 years in the Washington State Patrol.

“This group continues to make a positive impact on highway safety by working to better align industry and law enforcement resources toward that common goal,” said Fakkema. “Last year, we helped advance the ball on truck parking through outreach to state departments of transportation across the country, alerting them to the federal funds available to build out capacity. That issue, in addition to others like human trafficking, aggressive and distracted driving, and marijuana legalization, will remain a top focus of ours in the year ahead.”

The members of the 2023 LEAB are:

* Fred Fakkema (Chairman), Zonar Systems 

* Ron Cordova, Zonar Systems

* Jeff Ferber, J.B. Hunt

* Derek Barrs, HNTB Corporation

* Parker Harrison, Old Dominion Freight Line

* Mike Martin, Old Dominion Freight Line

* Jim Kochenderfer, Werner Enterprises

* Tim Cardwell, National High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Assistance Center

* Jeffrey Tippit, City of La Porte Police Department

* Dana Moore, Texas Trucking Association

* John Rigney, Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association

* Kent Grisham, Nebraska Trucking Association

* Will Cole, Montana Trucking Association

* Steve Massey, North Carolina Trucking Association

* Keith Eoff, J.B. Hunt

* Marc Nichols, Drivewyze

* Mark Savage, Drivewyze

* John Samis, Delaware State Police

* Mark Riordan, U.S. Auto Logistics

* Christopher Vinson, Midlothian Texas Police Department

* Rex Railsback, Railsback Hazmat Safety Professionals

* Ray Miller, McAnally Wilkins Insurance

* Jeff DeVere, DeVere Public Affairs

* Rocco Marrari, EBE Technologies

* Steve Dowling, Covenant Logistics

* Steve Keppler, Scopelitis Transportation Consulting

* Todd Armstrong, Illinois State Police

* Jake Elovirta, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA)

* Dennis Bailey, Walmart

* Floyd Dixon, FedEx

* Joshua Shelton, FedEx

* Doug Beebe, American Moving & Storage Inc.

* Gary McCarthy, Aurora Innovation

* Kevin Kelley, Missouri State Highway Patrol

* Milana Walters, TM Total Consulting

* Martin Cepeda, Trancasa USA

* David Guess, Usher Transport

* Janice Mulanix, PrePass Safety Alliance

The LEAB members have current or previous affiliation with the following 29 law enforcement entities:

* City of La Porte, Texas Police Department

* Colorado State Patrol

* Texas State Highway Patrol

* Florida State Highway Patrol

* Pennsylvania State Police

* Washington State Patrol

* California State Highway Patrol

* Rogers, Arkansas Police Department

* Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office

* Burlington, Vermont Police Department

* Kansas State Highway Patrol

* Midland, Texas Police Department

* Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

* North Carolina State Highway Patrol

* City of Leclaire, Iowa Police Department

* Illinois State Police

* National High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Assistance Center

* Ocean City, Maryland Police Department

* Alabama State Police

* Louisiana Department of Public Safety

* Louisiana State Police

* Fayette County, Georgia Police Department

* Austin, Indiana Police Department

* New Mexico Department of Public Safety

* Bunn, North Carolina Police Department

* Missouri State Highway Patrol

* Arizona Department of Transportation

* Montana Motor Carrier Services

* Delaware State Police

ATA Truck Tonnage Index Increased 0.7% in January

Washington, DC… American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 0.7% in January after increasing 1% in December. In January, the index equaled 117.1 (2015=100) compared with 116.2 in December.

ATA recently revised the seasonally adjusted index back five years as part of its annual revision.

“Tonnage has increased nicely in the last couple of months,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “I suspect that some of the gain is attributable to capacity coming out of the network, especially those carriers that primarily operate in the spot market and/or bought expensive used equipment in the last couple of years. This would push more freight to contract carriers, which dominate this index. It could also be that freight bottomed and is coming up a little too. So, the gain is likely a little higher demand and a little less supply. Despite the increases in December and January, tonnage is still off 1.4% from its recent high in September.”

Compared with January 2022, the SA index increased 1.5%, which was the seventeenth straight year-over-year gain. In December, the index was up 0.9% from a year earlier. In 2022, compared with the average in 2021, tonnage was up 3.5%.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 112.7 in January, 0.4% below the December level (113.2). 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 72.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.93 billion tons of freight in 2021. Motor carriers collected $875.5 billion, or 80.8% 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.

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 Hails Revised FHWA Priorities Memo Reverses Guidance that Favored Maintenance and Non-Highway Spending

 Washington, DC…  The American Trucking Associations said a revised memo outlining the Federal Highway Administration’s priorities for states’ use of funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will reduce confusion and accelerate important investments in improving freight capacity.

“As I told Congress earlier this month, FHWA’s memo didn’t just run counter to what lawmakers intended with IIJA, it was causing significant confusion for states at a time when those states needed to be working closely with FHWA to make sure the record-setting investment is directed to where it can do the most good,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “The IIJA was a good piece of bipartisan legislation and FHWA’s original memo was a misguided attempt to do an end-run around the priorities Congress set and it is a positive sign that DOT leadership has issued new guidance more in line with those priorities.”

In 2021, FHWA issued a memo outlining a wish list of priorities for states as they spent IIJA funds – priorities that ran counter to the bipartisan bill’s intent by directing funds to highway maintenance and non-highway projects over investments in expanding highway capacity.

Spear told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on February 1 that the effect of the memo was the country would have “really nice roads and bridges, but we're still sitting on them going nowhere. We need truck lanes we need parking we need new bridges. We need more capacity to move the freight.”

FHWA’s new memo brings the agency’s guidance in line with IIJA’s language and clarifies that states can invest in critical freight capacity expansion projects. 

“We are pleased that thanks to congressional leadership – notably House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Sam Graves and Senator Shelley Moore Capito, ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee – FHWA recognized their mistake and changed course,” Spear said. “We look forward to continuing to work with FHWA and Congress to make sure this historic investment goes to where it can do the most good for our country and economy.” 

ATA, IMCC Hail Victory in Chassis Choice Case

 Washington… The American Trucking Associations’ Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference secured a significant initial win over ocean carriers as a Federal Maritime Commission administrative law judge ruled that requiring motor carriers to use specific intermodal chassis providers to move containers violates the Shipping Act.

“This victory has been a longtime coming,” said IMCC Executive Director Jonathan Eisen. “The decision is the first step in putting a stop to the practice of foreign-owned shipping lines forcing American drivers and motor carriers to use specific equipment providers to move goods – which will help reduce supply chain delays and cut costs for carriers and consumers.”

IMCC filed its complaint against the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association, Consolidated Chassis Management, and the world’s largest ocean carriers with the FMC in 2020, alleging, among other things, that they have denied motor carriers the ability to choose their provider when leasing this essential equipment, heaping unjust and unreasonable prices upon trucking companies.

“The ocean carrier’s practices of prohibiting motor carriers from using the provider of their choice when they are paying for the chassis has held US motor carriers hostage and forced them to subsidize the shipping lines,” Eisen said. “We are pleased the judge agreed and we look forward to ending these unreasonable and unjust practices permanently.”