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Latest Industry News Briefs Courtesy of PMTA

August, 2019

ATA Praises Choice of Eugene Scalia as Labor Secretary Nomine

Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear praised President Trump’s choice of Eugene Scalia as the nominee for Secretary of Labor.

“I have had the privilege of knowing Gene Scalia for nearly two decades, and as former colleagues, know firsthand his expansive breadth of experience with issues currently facing the 21st century workforce and our nation’s economy,” Spear said. “Gene also has a deep knowledge of and appreciation for the Department of Labor’s mission and responsibilities. 

“I have full confidence in Gene’s leadership, and believe he is an inspired choice for Secretary of Labor by President Trump.

“We encourage the Senate to move quickly on confirmation, and look forward to working with Gene Scalia as Secretary on issues of importance to the trucking industry, including the critical issue of workforce development.”


ATA Truck Tonnage Index Fell 6.1% in May

Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 6.1% in May after jumping 7% in April. In May, the index equaled 114 (2015=100) compared with 121.4 in April.

“As expected, tonnage corrected in May from the surprising surge in April,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The economy is still growing, but the recent volatility in truck tonnage fits with a broader economy that is showing more mixed signals. The good news is if you ignore recent highs and lows, tonnage appears to be leveling off, albeit at a high level.” 

April’s reading was revised down compared with our May press release.

Compared with May 2018, the SA index increased 0.9%, the smallest year-over-year gain since April 2017. 

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 119.1 in May, 1.5% above April level (117.4). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 70.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.77 billion tons of freight in 2017. Motor carriers collected $700.1 billion, or 79.3% 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 Urges Congress to Move on USMCA - Trucking Congratulates Mexico for Ratifying Important Trade Agreement

Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear issued the following statement after Mexico’s ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

"Mexico's action in ratifying the USMCA is a critical step forward in putting this important trade agreement in place.

"Ensuring free and fair trade with our closest neighbors is critical to the trucking industry, which moves $772.3 billion worth of goods across our borders with Mexico and Canada.

“Trade with these two countries alone supports nearly 90,000 Americans in trucking-related jobs and generates $12.62 billion in revenue for our industry. We encourage Congress to move forward on ratifying this important agreement so all three nations may continue to share in the benefits that trade creates.”


CTA: Trucking Highlighted in PC Plan to Address Climate Change, Empty Trailers

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is applauding the direction of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada for several actions related to the trucking industry in their document: A Real Plan to Protect Our Environment

Specifically, the plan calls for the elimination of US-Canadian rules that do not allow foreign empty trailer repositioning in each country, thereby improving the energy efficiency of international trucking in North America, while still maintaining necessary protections for domestic industries. The party pledges to work with the cross-border community to address this ongoing challenge to the supply chain. 

The current practice of a driver bobtailing to the next facility is inefficient and wasteful, resulting in millions of extra miles driven, added driver wait time, and logistical issues for fleets. Recently, an analysis conducted by CTA and the American Trucking Association provided a very conservative estimate that 25% of border crossings at the U.S./Canada border would benefit from this policy change. Based on this study, the trucking industry would save over 67,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions along with $104 million annually in added fuel and other associated costs.

“This proposal shows there are tremendous options to reduce the trucking industry’s carbon footprint that also improve the efficiency of the supply chain, making US-Canada trade even stronger,” said CTA’s Lak Shoan. 

The proposal also mentions making renewable fuel a better option for fleets, by looking at cost, the current state of technology, and whether these fuels work from an operational standpoint. It also mentions that funding towards compliance and enforcing environmental laws needs to be prioritized. CTA has been urginggovernment to work with industry to combat operators who circumvent engine emission rules by tampering with ant-pollution systems.

Should it form the next government, the PC Party of Canada also ensures the trucking industry it will be invited to the table to explore equipment options to reduce the sectors greenhouse gas emissions:

“There are many options for reducing emissions in heavy duty vehicle fleets. A Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer, will consult with our industry partners to find ways that Canadian trucking companies can replace old and inefficient trucks with new and cleaner fleets,” it states.

“The Canadian Trucking Alliance appreciates this potential opportunity to explore such environmentally efficient options,” said CTA president Stephen Laskowski

In the Fall 2018 economic statement, the Government of Canada introduced a new class of CCA rates for new truck purchases. CTA believes that such a taxation approach to all trucking equipment would be an excellent starting point of discussions to introduce greener trucking equipment beyond tractors.


Federal Government Continues to Move Ahead with New Immigration Pilot

Eleven rural and northern communities have now been selected as part of the new Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, which invites newcomers to make these communities their new homes.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) had lobbied for the inclusion of commercial vehicle drivers in the program and is pleased to see the occupation as part of this new program. 

As the Canadian population ages and the birth rate declines, rural Canada’s workforce has seen a significant decrease in available workers, including commercial vehicle drivers. This pilot will help attract people that are needed to drive economic growth in these communities.

The participating rural and northern communities will have access to a range of support to test this new innovative, community-driven model that will help fill labour gaps. The selected communities are: Thunder Bay (ON), Sault Ste. Marie (ON), Sudbury (ON), Timmins (ON), North Bay (ON), Gretna-Rhineland-Altona-Plum Coulee (MB), Brandon (MB), Moose Jaw (SK), Claresholm (AB), West Kootenay (BC), and Vernon (BC). 

“We embrace the announcement of this pilot supporting West Kootenay communities. We are determined to see our local businesses succeed and this is a major step for all stakeholders,” said Doug Sutherland of Sutco Transportation Specialists. “As baby boomers leave the transportation industry, a gap is being created that our local labour pool cannot sufficiently fill. For many organizations, filling these gaps helps grow and create more opportunities for locals looking for other positions. 

For our team members, we are committed to transporting community products to market as well as transporting essential product to our communities. This program will definitely support these commitments for the long term.”

In the past, Sutco has had success hiring drivers through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, says Sutherland. However, he adds, this new Rural Immigration program is geared towards bringing in workers to remain as long-term employees and community members.

The federal government has stated that the participating communities were selected as a representative sample of the regions across Canada to assist in laying out the blueprint for the rest of the country.

To complement the Rural and Northern Pilot, Canada is also working with the territories to address the unique immigration needs in Canada’s North.

“This program is really driven by partners at the local level,” said Jonathan Blackham, CTA director, Policy and Public Affairs. “This means, if there is a need for drivers in one of the selected areas, it will be important for the local trucking association to work with local carriers and community support groups to utilize of this new program.”

The government will begin working with communities this summer to help them identify candidates for permanent residence as early as this fall. The first newcomers under the pilot are expected to arrive in 2020. 

“It’s our hope that this program’s success will evolve a permanent program, which will allow all qualifying Canadian fleets, regardless of location, to attract truck drivers from overseas to become Canadian citizens employed in the trucking industry,” said Blackham.


Drivewyze Adds Four New Locations for Weigh Station Bypass in Pennsylvania

DALLAS, TX… Drivewyze has continued to expand its industry-leading weigh station bypass service with four new locations in Pennsylvania. The new sites are part of a 12-month pilot program, which will allow data to be gathered to demonstrate the effectiveness of weigh station bypass, while providing bypass opportunities for Drivewyze customers.

The sites, south and northbound on I-83 in Newberry (York County), and south and northbound on I-79 near Hadley (Mercer County), represent the major arteries for truck traffic in Pennsylvania. I-83 is a major lane from the south up to the New England states, while I-79 is a major thoroughfare for truckers coming down from Ontario to go through Pennsylvania for southern-bound deliveries.

According to Brian Heath, president and CEO of Drivewyze, the activation of the Pennsylvania bypass program gives Drivewyze equipped carriers with continuing service from the bordering states of Maryland, West Virginia and New York. “With I-83 and I-79 being main passageways, customers with top safety scores will have the opportunity to get bypass service through several states,” Heath said. “This then allows law enforcement to concentrate its inspection efforts on at-risk carriers. We all want unsafe trucks off the road, along with a more efficient transportation system. By working together with the agencies in Pennsylvania we can help accomplish this goal.”

With the Drivewyze PreClear weigh station bypass service on their Drivewyze-enabled Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), telematics devices, smartphones and tablets, customers can now receive bypass opportunities at more than 800 locations, in 45 states and provinces.

The Drivewyze PreClear weigh station bypass application is available on a number of Drivewyze partner platforms, including ISAAC Systems, Omnitracs, Orbcomm, Platform Science, Rand McNally, Switchboard, Transflo, and Trimble. The application is also available for drivers to download on Android and iOS-based smartphones or tablets.

Fleets can request a free weigh station activity report to help them determine how much time and money they could save by using Drivewyze PreClear.

Drivewyze comes with a free Weigh Station Heads-Up service for real-time notifications at more than 1,200 weigh stations and inspection sites nationwide, and Drivewyze subscribed fleets also receive the valuable Insights Safety Reporting service. To learn more about Drivewyze, please visit www.drivewyze.com.


In the Fight Against Human Trafficking, Why Truckers?

By Lyn Leeburg, TAT Communications Director and Co-Founder

When working on a strategy to fight human trafficking, one of the first steps should be to determine which groups of people have the greatest opportunity to spot human trafficking as it is happening. In other words, who could serve as the primary surveillance? 

When it comes to this crime, those front-line people include such groups as medical personnel, who treat victims in medical clinics; service personnel in local neighborhoods (such as postal workers, and cable, electrical, and water providers), who come by homes on a regular basis and would notice if something unusual was going on; restaurant and hotel personnel, who might see trafficking taking place in their establishments; and members of all segments of the transportation industry, including airport employees, because traffickers are continually transporting victims to sell them in a variety of places. 

Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) began as an initiative of Chapter 61 Ministries in 2009 to work with the trucking industry, because it’s 7-million strong. Truckers are trained to be extremely observant. The trucking industry is composed of people already entrusted with caring for other people’s goods, which speaks to the character of the industry when it comes to caring for others—especially when the interest of others might be in trouble. Members of the trucking industry are everywhere, covering the entire United States. Lastly, traffickers wanting to make fast money often target truckers at truck stops and rest areas (because they’re everywhere and easy to reach right along highways) to sell their victims. This is evidenced by the number of victims rescued from truck stops by the FBI. 

The members of Chapter 61 Ministries believed that if the trucking industry were empowered with education and equipped with tools to fight human trafficking, they would be quick to mobilize against this crime. They could do their part to see victims recovered and perpetrators arrested. Members of the trucking industry could be everyday heroes in the course of their jobs and make a significant impact against the criminal activity of human trafficking. Perhaps they might even have a greater impact than the average person, because of their mobility and training. They were a critical front-line group to recruit.

Using tools such as an informational website (www.TruckersAgainstTrafficking.org), on-demand webinars, a trucking-industry-specific training DVD, wallet cards with signs to look for and questions to ask, and social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter), TAT began making contacts throughout the trucking industry to build relationships and state the case for trucking members to join the abolitionist movement. TAT also began having a presence at major trucking shows as well as providing free presentations wherever requested by members of the trucking industry. The trucking industry began responding positively. By 2011, TAT had grown so much and was making such an impact in the industry that it needed to become an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization in order to sustain its efforts.

Members of the trucking industry, who had witnessed the prostitution of women and minors at various places throughout the United States for years but who had not known what it was – forced prostitution and modern-day slavery – began calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline to report what they were seeing. Since Dec. 7th, 2007, when the hotline began, the national hotline has received 2200+ calls from truckers, which have opened 612 likely cases of human trafficking involving 1133 people. 

Major travel plaza and truck stop organizations joined TAT by making a commitment to train their employees with TAT materials and to make those materials available for trucking customers across the United States. Truck-driving schools, national and state trucking organizations, trucking companies – both large and small –individual truckers, trucking organizations of all types, and trucking media have also joined forces with TAT. 

TAT works to create relationships between state and federal law enforcement and members of the trucking industry through half-day events called coalition builds. These events provide a more effective localized response to human trafficking by gathering law enforcement agencies (state, federal and local) and local anti-trafficking resources (task forces and local non-governmental organizations) in the same room with key industry stakeholders, including general managers of truck stops and representatives of state trucking associations and carriers.

Using TAT materials, the Motor Vehicle Enforcement division of the Iowa Department of Transportation has created a model for other states to follow in working with the trucking industry. They place TAT materials in their state scale sites, state rest areas, and state truck stops. They are also working with major carriers in the state to train their employees with TAT materials.

Why truckers? Watching the TAT training DVD readily answers that question. With one phone call, a trucker who saw some under-aged girls working a truck stop not only facilitated the recovery of those girls, but also that of seven other minors. Thirty-one offenders were arrested and a 13-state prostitution ring was broken.  

Training and working with front-line responders in the United States in the fight against human trafficking is a strategy that can and does yield big results … and members of the trucking industry are some of the leading front-line responders.


Legislation Introduced To Fix FHWA Interpretation Of Auto Transporter Definition

Grain Valley, MO… The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is ecstatic that U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) introduced HR 3474, legislation that would statutorily correct an issue important to the auto transporter community. 

“We use the term ‘ecstatic’ because it’s truly the way we feel about this bill,” said Mike Matousek, OOIDA Manager of Government Affairs. “When it’s enacted, it will ensure that traditional auto transporters can use the applicable front and rear overhang that they’ve been using since the mid-1980s.” 

In 2004, the Federal Highway Administration unnecessarily revised its interpretation of longstanding regulations that govern the auto transporter industry. In effect, at that time the agency decided that to be considered an automobile transporter, the power unit (i.e. the truck) must be capable of carrying cargo. 

OOIDA maintains that such an interpretation is wrong and pressed FHWA to fix it in 2015. However, it wasn’t until 2017 that this issue received the attention it deserves when FHWA decided to docket it and request comments from interested stakeholders. 

“Across the federal bureaucracy, unnecessary regulatory guidance creates vast uncertainty in what should be simple regulations,” said Congressman Luetkemeyer. “A perfect example is the confusion surrounding the FHWA definition of an ‘auto-transporter,’ deeming virtually indistinguishable differences between auto transporters acceptable or unacceptable according to federal regulators. My bill will ensure our hardworking Missouri drivers can stay on the road by clarifying the definition and codifying this fix into law.”

While OOIDA is optimistic FHWA will soon address this issue in a positive way, the association also believes a permanent fix is necessary.

“This issue was changed in 2004 using regulatory guidance, which is a much less formal regulatory process. Regardless of what the current administration does, we’re still going to seek a statutory fix so future administrations don’t mess it up again. This is one reason why Congressman Luetkemeyer’s bill is so important and we appreciate his leadership and commitment to getting it done,” said Matousek.

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 160,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo. area.


Oregon DMV Seeks Qualified Providers For Commercial Driver Testing

SALEM, OR… Oregon DMV is looking for new skills test providers for commercial driver licensing across the state.

DMV encourages businesses and organizations that can provide CDL skills tests to apply with the Oregon Department of Transportation for the CDL Third Party Testing Program.

Once ODOT awards providers with a contract in this program, they will be authorized to administer CDL skills tests on behalf of DMV.

Request for Proposal 730-33646-19 is now available to be downloaded on the Oregon Procurement Information Network (ORPIN) system. The solicitation includes details such as requirements, scope of the work, closing dates, the vendor selection process, and information on the mandatory pre-proposal conference. 

Any entities wishing to submit a proposal response must be registered on ORPIN in order to do so. Registration is free. More information on ORPIN, including how to register as a supplier, is available at http://orpin.oregon.gov/open.dll/welcome

If you are new to Oregon public procurement, or would like training or assistance with how to successfully compete in the government marketplace, the Government Contract Assistance Program has free tools available at www.gcap.org.

All questions related to this program and the RFP must be directed to the single point of contact, Stephanie Lehman. Stephanie can be reached by email at [email protected].


OTA: National Review of Commercial Facility Association Insurance Set to Begin 

CANADA… The Facility Association (FA) has met with the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) as part of the FA’s national strategy to review the underwriting characteristics of Commercial Residual Market insurance.

In the 1970s governments across Canada made it mandatory for drivers to carry auto insurance. However, upon creating this requirement, they realized that clients who were rejected by the traditional market would need another avenue for insurance. Consequently, the Facility Association (FA) was also created through legislation. The FA operates in nine jurisdictions: Alberta, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Islands, and Yukon.

FA’s mandate is to ensure that anyone who is required by law to have auto insurance and can’t find it in the ‘regular’ market can get it from the FAs – but at a price that makes sure FA remains the last choice.

In 2018, the OTA joined forces with the insurance industry to review the problem of the growing number of commercial trucking fleets being insured with the FA. Following a series of meetings, the OTA, along with a coalition made up primarily of insurers, sent a letter to the FA calling for a review of Commercial Residual Market insurance to ensure it is delivering on its intended mandate. As a result of this involvement, OTA recently learned that the Facility Association will be forming a national working group to examine Commercial Residual Market insurance.

“When applied for and issued properly, insurance with Facility Association has a legitimate and important role in supporting the trucking industry,” said Stephen Laskowski, president of OTA. “Our goal in partnering with the Facility Association is not to eliminate these legitimate uses, but rather to review with insurance regulators the existing Commercial Residual Market insurance policy framework and ensure the proper rating of carriers that reflects road safety and fleet responsibility in this market. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Facility Association and insurance regulators to address such matters.”

During its work with members in the insurance industry and brokerage sector, OTA learned of potential concerns with the policies being submitted to the Facility Association – notably, the misrepresentation of fleet information by some fleet managers and brokers to receive coverage not matching their actual fleet performance or operating practices. This behaviour not only gives the industry a poor image, but it means other fleet owners end up paying higher insurance prices to cover the shortfall.

The Facility Association has expressed shared interest and support for OTA’s goals.

“The trucking industry looks forward to working with the Facility Association Insurance Working Group to ensure all fleets are properly assessed and rated from a road safety perspective and that a level playing field is maintained in the commercial insurance industry,” said OTA Chair David Carruth.


Turnover Rate at Large Truckload Carriers Jumped in First Quarter - The Churn Rate at Smaller Fleets Dipped in First Three Months of 2019

Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations Chief Economist Bob Costello said the turnover rate in the first quarter of the year demonstrated a muddled picture of the labor market for drivers, as the turnover rate at large truckload fleets rose five percentage points, but the rate at smaller fleets dipped four points.

“While the market for drivers in certain segments continues to be tight, we’re seeing the impacts of a softer freight environment,” Costello said. “Despite weaker freight growth, it is clear that there is still strong demand for quality drivers industry wide, which will continue to put carriers under pressure to recruit and keep good ones.”

In the first quarter of the year, the turnover rate at truckload fleets with more than $30 million revenue rose to 83% - lower than 2018’s average rate of 89% and 11 points below a year earlier. At smaller truckload carriers, the rate fell to 73% - exactly where it was in the first quarter of 2018. 

Turnover at less-than-truckload fleets ticked up eight points and now stands at 18%, the highest level in fifteen years, but well below truckload driver turnover.