Dump Truck Christmas Party

Annual Dump Truck Christmas Party

The 66th Annual Dump Truck Association Christmas Party will be held for members and their guests at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2 at Maneeley’s Grand Lodge in South Windsor. The Christmas Party committee has planned a holiday feast with all the trimmings.

All requested tickets for the event must be paid for in advance. Payments shall be made through the MTAC office by using Mastercard or Visa. The price is $60 per person and guests are welcome if they have a ticket. A cash bar will be available.

Purchase tickets by completing the online form or calling the MTAC office at (860) 520-4455. Tickets must be purchased no later than Nov. 24. Tables may be reserved in advance for groups of 10.

Note this event will be held in The Grand Lodge rather than the main ballroom.

Advertise in next edition of The Transportation Professional

Act now to secure advertising space in the next edition of MTAC’s magazine, The Transportation Professional. MTAC staff is currently working with Matthews Publishing on production of the next issue, which will also feature the MTAC membership directory.

Contact Jennifer Matthews by calling (501) 690-9393 to discuss placing your ads.

MTAC’s magazine is distributed to more than 8,000 readers in Connecticut. It also has nationwide reach, as MTAC shares both digital and hard copy versions with our allied trucking associations across the country.

Previous editions of The Transportation Professional…

ATA warns vaccine mandate could worsen supply chain troubles

From Transport Topics.

American Trucking Associations has sent a letter to the Biden administration expressing “grave concern” over the potential damage that the president’s plans for a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for many businesses — including trucking companies — could cause for the country.

“While much of the country was sequestered in their homes, the trucking industry served its essential function and did so successfully with safety standards developed by public health experts,” said the Oct. 21 letter, signed by ATA President Chris Spear. “Now placing vaccination mandates on employers, which in turn force employees to be vaccinated, will create a workforce crisis for our industry and the communities, families and businesses we serve.”

The federation warns that motor carriers it represents – who it said supply 80% of the country and move 70% of all freight tonnage — could lose up to 37% of their drivers.

The letter notes that ATA supports the Administration’s goals of increased vaccination rates and clear health guidelines to enhance protections for all Americans. Its concern centers on the potential negative effect of the proposal.

“Unfortunately, however, the anticipated Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule as outlined together with the federal contractor vaccination mandate will have vast unintended consequences,” the letter said.

The OSHA emergency temporary standard requiring companies with 100 or more employees to require their employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 has not yet been made public, but was reportedly sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review on Oct. 12.

ATA said that given the administration’s acknowledgment of supply chain problems and recent actions to try to alleviate those issues, the current direction of OSHA and OMB will exacerbate the supply chain crisis.

See the complete article online at Transport Topics.

trucks on highway

Strong freight, rates environment expected to last through 2022

From Overdrive Online.

As any independent who follows trends in freight and rates will surely know, the current trucking environment is one of the best in history from a demand perspective, and that strong environment for rates is expected to continue.

ATBS President Todd Amen, in an Overdrive’s Partners in Business webinar Thursday (the replay is above), said all signs are pointing to the current cycle lasting through the end of 2022.

“We’re already 18 months into this cycle, and by all accounts … a traditional trucking cycle will be somewhere between 12 to 24 months of good for the truckers and then it’ll be three to four years of bad,” he said. “So it’s like quick up, and a slow, gradual decrease when you think about rate and freight cycles. By all accounts, we’re already most of the way into a really good freight cycle, and it should turn.”

However, “Most people are saying this could last all the way through 2022,” he added, “which would be amazing. It would be a 30 month-plus. almost-going-on-three-years positive freight cycle for truckers, which is incredible.”

As previously reported by Overdrive, average owner-operator income is at an all-time high at more than $70,000 a year, a 10.2% increase over 2020, according to ATBS. That increase has been driven in large part by the spot market, where rates have jumped considerably with lower capacity and more freight after the early COVID shutdowns last spring.

A lack of drivers due to a variety of factors, including the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, an aging driver population, a booming economy possibly pulling drivers away from trucking and into other industries and more, coupled with the slowed-down ability to purchase new trucks because of parts shortages, is keeping capacity at an equilibrium as demand explodes. That’s keeping rates high.

See the complete article at Overdrive Online.

Parking trucks

From MG+M The Law Firm.

The lack of availability for truck parking has been a top concern for carrier, drivers, and other stakeholders for the past several years. Truckers are often cited for parking on shoulders, ramps, and other non-designated areas when there is no parking availability. Alternatively, the industry is seeing drivers parking their rigs prior to reaching the maximum hours-of-service when a spot is found. Lost wages for early parking “averages over $4,600 annually per driver.” Congress attempted to address this when it passed Jason’s Law, which made it a federal priority to address the parking problem. However, Jason’s Law has not led to any significant, demonstrative results. States have taken it upon themselves to attempt to alleviate this hardship in a number of way. Two of which includes two broadly defined technological systems.

The first group of technologies is referred to as “sensing.” This system monitors when trucks are filling spaces or facilities. It is further divide into two subdivisions, direct and indirect. Direct sensing monitors the spaces themselves, by for instance, placing hardware in the pavement to detect if a spot is occupied or by using cameras and software to count available spots. Indirect sensing, on the other hand, monitors the entrances and exits of facilities usually through cameras or magnetic trip wires. Direct sensing methods, however, are considered more accurate and have become the preferred method.

The second classification of technologies is dissemination. Dissemination technology essentially gathers parking data and conveys it to interested parties. The mechanisms to communicate the information varies from in-cab systems to smart phone apps or GPS networks.

These technologies are extremely beneficial and may go a long way in helping drivers find appropriate safe parking at the right times. However, with these technologies come new concerns, primarily driver distraction. Specifically, smart phone applications can be problematic as most states prohibit operating a motor vehicle while using a phone. Additionally, push notifications through in-cab systems can be equally as distracting. An alternative to help remedy the distraction of on-board systems is variable messages signs. A majority of long haul drivers found the signs “helpful and accurate” where they were present.

Technology can go a long way in addressing a constant and pressing concern of drivers and carriers. However, with technology comes new dangers and concerns. Finding a way to balance the safety of the driver and those sharing the road with them, and the need for accurate and available information is the first critical step needed to fully address the overall problem of parking. These discussed technologies have begun to chip away, but more work needs to be done and further improvements are anticipated over the next few years.

Economist says trucking short 80,000 drivers

From Commercial Carrier Journal.

The trucking industry is short at least a record-high 80,000 drivers, according to American Trucking Associations’ Chief Economist Bob Costello, due in large part to accelerated retirements in the wake of the pandemic and trucking schools that were shuttered or limited in their ability to infuse new CDL drivers into the workforce.

Costello’s updated figure represents a significant upward adjustment from his previous estimation of less than 60,000. Costello noted the driver shortage improved in 2019 thanks mostly to an infusion of new talent and a stable freight environment, but industry-wide volatility brought on by the pandemic has boosted headcount needs by more than 30%.

The current estimation and its upward movement is likely no surprise as the White House struggles with ideas to reconcile the amount of goods that need to be moved with the lack of capacity to move it.

“This is sort of a warning to the entire supply chain,” Costello said, noting that if current trends hold, trucking could be short 160,000 drivers by 2030. “I really do think the supply chain problems of today are a glimpse into our future if we do not fix this.”

While it’s easy to lay blame on the pandemic, Costello said all transportation players – from shipper to carrier to receiver – play a role in the labor problem, and that the current supply chain woes only pile on underlying industry issues like elevated driver age and lack of diversity in the driver force.
“We have a demographics problem,” Costello said. “We have a high average age [and] you have to be at least 21 years old to drive interstate freight, but most people don’t wait around.”

Costello said most new drivers enter the industry at around 35 years old, and for LTL and private fleets that number balloons to over 50 years old.

“When you’re going to have life out on the road, I don’t know if I want to do it at 35 (years old),” Costello said, harkening to the fact that many would-be truck drivers have already sought another career path by the time they are of age to drive interstate. In fact, Costello suggested that trucking’s age model is backwards; that, ideally, drivers should learn to drive OTR first before driving intrastate, which includes urban settings that can be more challenging. Costello noted he and ATA support the DRIVE Safe Act, which could infuse the industry with up to 3,000 drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 who would be trained and mentored for interstate driving.

See the complete article from Commercial Carrier Journal online.

trucks on highway

Tonnage jumps in September

From Transport Topics.

Truck tonnage increased on both a sequential and year-over-year basis in September, recording a 2021 high mark amid an environment in which a shortage of drivers and trucks is keeping rigs fully loaded on most runs, American Trucking Associations reported Oct. 19.

The ATA For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index was 112.9 in September, an increase of 1.7% compared with year-ago levels, and up 2.4% compared with August’s 110.2 result. For the purposes of the index, the year 2015=100.

“September’s sequential gain was the largest in 2021,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said. “It is good that tonnage rose in September, but it is important to note that this is happening because each truck is hauling more, not from an increase in the amount of equipment operated as contract carriers in the for-hire truckload market continue to shrink from the lack of new trucks and drivers.”

Costello said the industry is short at least 60,000 drivers due to retirements, attrition and other issues. Plus, he noted that capacity among for-hire carriers is constrained as motor carriers park vehicles due to a shortage of drivers to operate them. That’s pushing the tonnage numbers up.

“The drivers of truck freight, including retail, construction and manufacturing, plus a surge in imports, are helping keep demand high for trucking services,” he said.
Meanwhile, the DAT Truckload Volume Index dipped 1% to 229 when measured against August, but the September number still was the highest for any September on record.

The DAT Index is an aggregated measure of dry van, refrigerated and flatbed loads moved by truckload carriers each month. DAT said a decline of 7% to 10% is more typical from August to September.

“Businesses are shipping early and, where possible, by truck in order to make sure they have inventory, but this means using the spot market or higher-priced carriers to cover their loads,” DAT Chief of Analytics Ken Adamo said. “If you’re accustomed to having the right truck in the right place at the right price, you can have one or two of those things but probably not all three.”

See the complete article online at Transport Topics.

FMCSA logo

Senate advances FMCSA’s Joshi nomination

From Freight Waves.

The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee voted on Wednesday to advance Meera Joshi’s nomination as the seventh administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

If confirmed by the full Senate, Joshi, who has led the FMCSA as deputy administrator since January, will take over as administrator as the trucking industry struggles to keep up with high consumer demand while navigating disruption along the entire supply chain. She would succeed Ray Martinez as the latest administrator. Ten acting or deputy administrators have also lead the agency since 2000 (see table).

Nominations also advanced by the Commerce Committee on Wednesday were those of Amit Bose, as Federal Railroad administrator, and Mohsin Raza Syed, as DOT Assistant Secretary for Government Affairs.

Over the past nine months, Joshi has issued several rules and proposed regulations, including new mandates for enforcing drug and alcohol requirements at the state level and potential new standards for drivers with vision loss. Joshi has also extended pandemic-related hours-of-service waivers and has continued the trend of granting exemptions for dashcams and other safety-related technologies.

She has also acknowledged the challenges of rolling out autonomous trucks and the potential effects it will have on the driver workforce. As the country’s top trucking safety regulator, Joshi told lawmakers at her nomination hearing in September she is committed to taking concrete steps to reduce deaths and injuries from large-truck crashes.

Her office is currently working with state motor vehicle divisions to cut red tape and speed up the issuance of CDLs to get more qualified truckers on the road, including those who serve ports, to help mitigate supply chain disruptions.

See the complete article online at Freight Waves.

FMCSA logo

Data shows increase in drivers prohibited from driving due to substance abuse violations

From MG+M The Law Firm.

A recent report by the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), showed that the number of truck drivers prohibited from driving because of substance abuse violations is increasing by approximately 2,000-3,000 each month. As of June 1, 2021, 60,299 drivers had a violation in the system. This number was an increase of roughly 3,000 drivers since May 1, 2021, and there were only 18,860 drivers with such violations on May 1, 2020.

Once drivers have at least one substance abuse violation, they are prohibited from operating a commercial truck until they finish a return-to-duty process. This process includes producing a negative drug test result, among other requirements. As far as which substances produce the most violations, marijuana has consistently been at the top of the list. Cocaine and methamphetamine have followed as second and third on the list for CDL holders.

The FMCSA has specific rules for drug and alcohol testing of CDL holders. Every truck driver who, on public roads, operates a commercial vehicle that is subject to CDL requirements is required to undergo drug and alcohol testing. Drivers must be tested before even being hired. Further, drivers must undergo random testing throughout the year and are required to be tested under certain circumstances. For example, if a driver seems to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he or she can be tested immediately. Finally, depending on the circumstances, testing may be required after an accident.

The increasing number of drivers with substance-related suspensions comes at a time when there is a shortage of truck drivers across the country. At a recent congressional hearing, the president and CEO of American Trucking Associations testified, “According to a recent estimate, the trucking industry needs an additional 60,800 truck drivers immediately — a deficit that is expected to grow to more than 160,000 by 2028.”

In order to keep our roads safe, it is crucial that drivers understand and follow the federal government’s requirements regarding drug and alcohol use. If they do not follow these standards, they could be suspended from their jobs until they complete a re-entry process. With safety as its priority, the FMCSA will continue testing drivers and enforcing its requirements.

US DOT logo

Supply chains dominate Secretary Pete’s schedule

From Transport Topics.

Congress is back at it this week to keep negotiating pieces of infrastructure legislation that continue to take up the oxygen on Capitol Hill.

Meanwhile, Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the country’s top transportation officer, is making the media rounds to update the nation about the crises across the supply chains.

On NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Oct. 17, he said, “We’re doing everything we can for the short term and the long term. And there are some ‘x’ factors out there on everything from, you know, pandemic-related closures of factories and ports in Asia, to things that are going on through the chain on the U.S. side.

“Now, of course, the other thing we’ve got to talk about is that this isn’t just a matter of supply. This is a matter of supply and demand. Every item you see, every container on every ship that is waiting at anchor in the ports of [Los Angeles] and Long Beach, or anywhere else, is there because an American company or consumer purchased it,” the secretary of transportation told Chuck Todd.

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Buttigieg shared a similar sentiment: “Our role is to be an honest broker, bring together all of the different players there, secure commitments and get solutions that are going to make it easier.”

Prior to the Sunday shows, he had appeared on NPR and other outlets to reassure audiences about the administration’s aims at resolving the crises.

A key proposal the Biden White House announced recently was the public and private commitment meant to facilitate the flow of freight via 24/7 operations at the critical West Coast ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. As President Joe Biden explained last week, “After weeks of negotiation and working with my team and with the major union and retailers and freight movers … the Port of Los Angeles announced today that it’s going to … begin operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

See the complete article online at Transport Topics.