Latest Industry News Briefs Courtesy of PMTA

March 2024

Truck Parking On Interstate 5 Will Be Safer And Easier Thanks To New Grant-Funded Project

Truck drivers traveling Interstate 5 will have an easier and safer experience finding truck parking, thanks to an innovative new project and federal grant funding.

Last week Oregon, Washington and California were awarded $12.3 million in federal grant funds for their joint Regional Truck Parking Information Management System project. The project will deploy a real-time truck parking information system at 54 truck parking areas along I-5 through all three states.

The grant funds come from the federal INFRA grant program. Oregon, Washington, and California will split the awarded funds to deploy the system at truck parking areas in their states, creating a connected system the length of I-5.

We expect the project to kick off in late 2024 or early 2025 with initial planning and outreach to trucking groups and other communities. The project should be complete and serving truckers in 2027.

“Our success with this grant is due to the strong partnership among the west coast states,” said Amy Ramsdell, ODOT Commerce and Compliance Division administrator. “This grant will allow us to provide vital, real-time information to truck drivers to help them find safe parking along the interstate.”

 How it works

The system will use sensors and cameras in truck parking areas to collect data and feed that information to truckers in real time. Truckers will be able to access the parking availability information in a few different ways, depending on what state they’re in and the location:

* Digital roadside signs.

* Directly to their cabs, if they have compatible in-cab technology.

* Via smartphone apps or travel websites.

Making the system flexible, and providing options for truckers, are key parts of its design.

 Benefits to truckers, other road users, and the environment

Real-time information on truck parking availability will have several benefits:

* Safety. Truckers will spend less time searching for a safe, designated parking space, especially when they’re tired or nearing their mandated hours-of-service limit. Fatigue and parking in undesignated areas are two leading factors in crashes involving trucks.

* Time savings. Truckers will be able to plan their drive and rest times more efficiently. Other travelers will have a smoother, safer trip due to fewer crashes involving trucks.

* Cost savings. More efficient trips will mean cost savings on fuel, maintenance, and other expenses for trucking companies. States will save money on road maintenance via fewer trucks parking in undesignated areas and crashes involving trucks.

* Reduced emissions. Efficient truck travel produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions, which helps address the effects of climate change.

Parts and Labor Costs Rose in the Third Quarter of 2023

 Washington , DC… The American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council and Decisiv Inc. said that parts and labor expenses rose 1.9% during the third quarter of 2023, according to data released in the latest Decisiv/TMC North American Service Event Benchmark Report.

“This return to increasing parts and labor costs highlights the fact that fleets must remain vigilant when it comes to managing their maintenance expense data,” said TMC Executive Director Robert Braswell. “This important parts and labor cost analysis report is an excellent tool to help Council members see how their operations are performing and plan accordingly.”

The increase follows a 1.3% decline in the second quarter across the top 25 Vehicle Maintenance Reporting System Level Codes. The jump in costs reflect an equal rise in parts and labor expenses – both of which rose 1.9% individually during the third quarter. On a year-over-year basis, parts costs are up 0.9% and labor costs rose 4.9% for a total combined increase of 2.5%.

Detailed data from Decisiv on quarter-over-quarter combined parts and labor costs indicated increases in 18 of the 25 VMRS System Codes. Year-over-year, parts and labor cost increases were seen in 22 VMRS System Codes.  The data on 25 VMRS System Level Codes accounts for more than 97% of total parts and labor costs for more than seven million assets and over 300,000 monthly maintenance and repair events at more than 5,000 service locations.

Considering that truck tonnage and consequently mileage continue to decline, the likely explanation for higher parts costs is the impact of ongoing inflationary pressures. In September, the American Trucking Associations’ seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 1.1% compared to the previous month and was down 4.1% year-over-year, the seventh straight annual decrease and the largest over that period. In the same month, ATA’s not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in freight tonnage actually hauled by fleets, was 6.8% below August.

The labor costs side of the equation is equally challenged, driven in large part by the ongoing technician shortage affecting dealers and fleets. Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the costs associated with technician recruitment will not see any relief for the foreseeable future, with a projected need of about 23,900 heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians each year on average over the next decade.

“Despite running fewer miles to handle lower freight volumes and the influx of less repair intensive new trucks, fleets and service providers are still challenged by inflationary cost pressures on parts prices and higher labor costs,” said Decisiv President and CEO Dick Hyatt. “The data in this report, however, enables everyone in the service supply chain to anticipate and focus on areas where cost control measures will prove most valuable.”

The Decisiv/TMC North American Service Event Benchmark Reports are generated using data from the Decisiv SRM platform on service and repair events for more than 7 million commercial assets operating across the U.S. and Canada. The industry’s largest asset service management system is being used to manage a weekly average of 70,000 service events at nearly 5,000 locations.

ATA’s Technology & Maintenance Council issues the reports to its fleet members. The reports are organized based on the Council’s Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards sorted by VMRS-coded vehicle systems and geographic location.

TMC fleet members will receive the report electronically via email.  For more information on joining TMC, call (703) 838-1763 or visit

Congress Passes Bill to Protect Repatriating Americans’ Personal Data

Washington, DC…  The American Trucking Associations welcomed congressional approval of the Moving Americans Privacy Protection Act, bipartisan legislation that will help protect the privacy and identity security of American servicemembers, federal employees, private sector workers and their families who are returning to the United States after living abroad.

The ATA-endorsed bill, which passed the Senate today and passed the House earlier this month, was co-authored by Representatives Mike Waltz (R-Florida) and Bill Pascrell (D-New Jersey).  Senators Steve Daines (R-Montana) and Gary Peters (D-Michigan) sponsored the Senate companion bill.  The legislation will become law upon receiving President Biden’s signature.

“Conventional political wisdom says not much gets done on Capitol Hill during an election year.  We simply don’t accept that. Our industry works hard every day to deliver for the American people, and we expect Congress to do the same,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “The passage of this significant piece of legislation is proof that even in the most difficult legislative environments, ATA is still moving bills into law. 

 “We are grateful for our congressional champions on this bill—Representatives Waltz and Pascrell and Senators Daines and Peters—who kept their foot on the gas until the personal data of military families and other Americans was protected,” Spear said. “With 2024 well underway, we will not stop advocating for commonsense legislative solutions that will strengthen our supply chain.”

“I want to thank Senators Daines and Peters, Representatives Waltz and Pascrell, and the others in Congress who have worked for many years to get this legislation passed,” said Bill Lovejoy, chairman of ATA’s Moving & Storage Conference and president of Republic Moving & Storage. “This isn’t just a win for the moving industry; it’s also a win for the American servicemembers and others who shouldn’t be at greater risk of identity theft simply because they moved back to the United States.” 

When relocating Americans ship their household goods back to the U.S., they must provide personal data on vessel manifests.

Currently, this personally identifiable information — such as Social Security numbers, passport numbers, home addresses and more — can be included in trade data that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is required to collect and make available for sale to data brokers. This exposure puts Americans at risk of identity theft, financial fraud and other crimes.

The Moving Americans Privacy Protection Act will protect the privacy of tens of thousands of Americans by requiring CBP to scrub Americans' personal data from manifests before making trade data available for sale.

ATA Welcomes More Than $200 Million for Truck Parking Projects

Washington, DC… American Trucking Associations welcomed five major new federal investments by the Department of Transportation that will add approximately 1,000 truck parking spaces and make it easier for drivers to locate parking along key freight corridors in Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania, California, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin.

“The severe shortage of truck parking continues to rank among drivers’ highest concerns, which is why we appreciate that Secretary Buttigieg and a growing number of states are making these projects a top priority,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “America’s highways are our shop floor. When drivers finish their shift, they deserve to know that they will be able to find a safe place to sleep that night. These significant investments in expanding parking capacity along some of America’s busiest freight corridors will help reduce supply chain bottlenecks, alleviate stress on truck drivers and make the roadways safer for all motorists.”

The funding stems from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and was allocated through the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) Program. Combined with previous awards to Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Wyoming and Iowa, the announcement brings the total number of truck parking projects supported by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to 11, encompassing roughly 2,000 additional spaces.

The new awards follow ATA’s effort to urge governors to request Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for truck parking projects in their states.

“Florida Trucking Association is proud to have partnered with FDOT on this funding request—I-4 is one of the busiest corridors for freight movement in the country, with far too few parking options,” said Florida Trucking Association President and CEO Alix Miller. “Our state leadership prioritizes the trucking industry and the safety of our drivers, who often have no other choice than to park illegally when they are tired or for their federally mandated rest time. This project will make all motorists safer on our roads and improve efficient movement of freight as we drive the economy forward.”

The INFRA funding was awarded as follows:

* $180,009,420 for 917 spaces at four locations on I-4 in central Florida.

* $92,883,609 for improvements to I-70 in Missouri, which will include new parking capacity.

* $40,798,046 for a project at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Pennsylvania, which will include the creation of a safe truck parking area as an alternative to the current practice of parking off-site in unauthorized locations nearby.

* $12,287,247 for a joint California, Oregon and Washington I-5 Truck Parking Information Management System that will provide real-time information.

 * $8,000,000 to add 54 spaces on I-90 in Wisconsin as well as real-time information system technology.

In November 2023, ATA sent a letter calling on all 50 state governors to make room for truck parking in their infrastructure spending priorities.  The letter spelled out the numerous new resources provided by the federal government, including new funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to improve and expand truck parking facilities.

The ATA also strongly supports the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act—introduced by Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming) and Mark Kelly (D-Arizona) and Representatives Mike Bost (R-Illinois) and Angie Craig (D-Minnesota)—which would create a $755 million federal grant program dedicated to truck parking expansion.

ATA Truck Tonnage Index Increased 2.1% in December

Washington, DC… American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.1% in December after falling 1.4% in November. In December, the index equaled 115.7 (2015=100) compared with 113.3 in November.

“While 2023 ended on a better note, truck tonnage remained in a recession as it continued to fall on a year-over-year basis,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “With that said, for-hire contract freight, which is what comprises our index, in December was 2.6% above the trough in April. For the entire year, tonnage contracted 1.7% from 2022 levels. This makes 2023 the worst annual reading since 2020 when the index fell 4% from 2019, and the only year since 2020 that tonnage contracted.”

November’s decline was revised down slightly from our December 19 press release.

Compared with December 2022, the SA index fell 0.5%, which was the tenth straight year-over-year decrease, albeit the smallest over that period. In November, the index was down 1.6% from a year earlier.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 110.7 in December, 1.9% below the November’s level (112.8). 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 72.6% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 11.46 billion tons of freight in 2022. Motor carriers collected $940.8 billion, or 80.7% 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 Departure of FMCSA Administrator Hutcheson

 Washington, DC… The American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear issued the following statement after the announcement that Administrator Robin Hutcheson will be departing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:

"Administrator Hutcheson led FMCSA through a critical time as the pandemic, natural disasters, workforce shortages and supply chain disruptions challenged the freight economy in ways never seen before. America’s trucking industry is the heartbeat of this nation, and we depend on partners in government like Administrator Hutcheson who value data and stakeholder input to meet real-world needs and ensure the safe movement of freight across our nation’s highways. We applaud her communication, transparency and commitment to ATA and our members, and we wish her well in her future endeavors.”

ATA Names 27 to Law Enforcement Advisory Board

 Washington, DC… The American Trucking Associations announced that 27 trucking industry and law enforcement officials have been named to the ATA Law Enforcement Advisory Board.

“Now in its fourth year, the Law Enforcement Advisory Board continues to deliver results on a whole host of issues impacting highway safety. This group’s engagement with state officials and local, state and national law enforcement organizations has helped secure hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grant funding to expand truck parking capacity across the country,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “Security, including cargo theft and cybercrime, has now been added to ATA’s strategic priorities, further demonstrating the ATA Federation’s commitment to our partners in law enforcement.”  

 Formed in 2021, the ATA Law Enforcement Advisory Board advises the ATA Federation on strategies to grow and strengthen relationships between the trucking industry and law enforcement organizations across the country. Comprised of ATA members with previous experience in federal, state or local law enforcement, as well as current and retired law enforcement officials, this year’s LEAB has 27 members with a total of 685 years of law enforcement experience. 

 For the coming year, the LEAB will be chaired by Mark Savage, director of connected truck solutions at Drivewyze Inc. Steve Dowling, director of enterprise safety training at Covenant Logistics Group Inc., and Steve Keppler, co-director of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting, will serve as the board’s first and second vice chairmen respectively. 

 “Throughout my career spanning both law enforcement and trucking, I’ve come to appreciate the synergy that exists between these two professional communities. When we combine forces, we have an enormously positive impact on highway safety, and I’m honored to now assume this role to foster that kind of cooperation at the highest levels,” Savage said. 

 The members of this year’s board are: 

* Andrew Beckett, Amazon

* Christopher Vinson, Midlothian (Texas) Police Department? 

* Derek Barrs, HNTB Corp.? 

* Fred Fakkema, Zonar Systems Inc.? 

* Gary McCarthy, Aurora Innovation Inc.? 

* Jake Elovirta, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance? 

* Janice Mulanix, PrePass Safety Alliance? 

* Jeff DeVere, Washington Trucking Associations? 

* Jeff Ferber, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc.? 

* Jeff Tippit, La Porte (Texas) Police Department? 

* John Rigney, Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association? 

* John Samis, Drivewyze Inc.? 

* Jonathan Beshears, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc.? 

* Keith Eoff, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc.? 

* Malik A Henderson, PrePass Safety Alliance? 

* Marc Nichols, Drivewyze Inc.? 

* Mark Savage, Drivewyze Inc.? 

* Michael Martin, Old Dominion Freight Line Inc.? 

* Parker Harrison, Old Dominion Freight Line Inc.? 

* Richard Elliott, Safeway Transportation LLC? 

* Rocco Marrari, EBE Technologies? 

* Ron Cordova, Zonar Systems Inc.? 

* Steve Dowling, Covenant Logistics Group Inc.? 

* Steve Keppler, Scopelitis Transportation Consulting? 

* Tim Cardwell, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas?? 

* Todd Armstrong, Illinois State Police? 

* Will Cole, Montana Trucking Association? ? 

“Our mission is to develop processes that are mutually beneficial to the safety goals that the trucking industry and law enforcement share,” said Dowling. “The incredible breadth and depth of experience represented on this board will serve the entire motoring public well as we partner together to increase safety across our nation’s highways.” 

 “Safety cannot be advanced by enforcement or industry alone; it takes engagement, collaboration and partnerships,” said Keppler. “The LEAB represents an unbelievably valuable resource to our collective safety goal of reducing crashes on our highways, and I am humbled and honored to be a part of it.” 

ATA Applauds House Passage of Tax Package

 Washington — By a vote of 357-70 last night, the House passed a bipartisan, bicameral compromise tax package authored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-Missouri).  The bill must now be considered by the Senate before heading to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024 restores and enhances the Child Tax Credit for working families while also expanding business tax policies to encourage innovation and competitiveness such as the Research & Development Tax Credit and reinstated 100% expensing.  The bill also provides tax relief to businesses and communities struck by natural disasters, enhances the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and ends the COVID-19-era Employee Retention Tax Credit Program.

ATA joined a coalition of trade associations and companies in sending a letter to congressional leadership, voicing support for rapid consideration and passage of the legislation. 

“The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act advances several trucking priorities to promote much-needed investments in our supply chain, like restoring and extending 100% expensing for new equipment,” said Ed Gilroy, ATA’s chief advocacy and public affairs officer.  “We support this bipartisan effort that will pave the way for greater freight capacity, efficiency and innovation while strengthening small businesses and fostering good-paying jobs in the trucking industry.”

ATA will continue working to support additional tax priorities for the trucking industry—such as repealing the federal excise tax on heavy-duty trucks and trailers—at every opportunity.

Intermodal Stands Out in Fourth Quarter

CALVERTON, MD… Total intermodal volumes gained 3.1 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to the Intermodal Association of North America. While trailers dropped 21.6 percent, domestic container and international container originations grew 6.0 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively. It was the first of the past nine quarters showing year-over-year growth.  

 "The fourth quarter may have been an inflection point for intermodal. Both trade flows and inventories started to swing in its favor,” said Joni Casey, president and CEO of IANA. “Monetary actions by the Federal Reserve to bring down interest rates in 2024 could further set the industry up for more sustainable growth."

All but one of the seven highest-density trade corridors, which collectively handled more than 60 percent of total volume, were up in the fourth quarter. The South Central-Southwest corridor was up 9.6 percent, while the Southeast-Southwest climbed 8.7 percent, and the intra-Southeast added 6.3 percent. The Midwest-Southwest and Midwest-Northwest both gained 4.8 percent, and the Northeast-Midwest put on 4.6 percent. The Trans-Canada was the only loss at 2.3 percent.

Total IMC volume fell 11.8 percent year-over-year in Q4, with intermodal down 6.6 percent and highway traffic down 14.9 percent.

 IANA’s roster of corporate members includes railroads, ocean carriers, ports, intermodal truckers and over-the-road highway carriers, intermodal marketing and logistic companies, and suppliers to the industry. This roster gives IANA a unique position within the intermodal community, one which is authoritative, holistic and able to affect change that benefits everyone. IANA consistently supports the shared needs, interests, and goals of its diverse members – regardless of mode or function – with business solutions, education, and networking opportunities.