Every month, we’ll be sharing some of the top stories in logistics and transportation right here on our blog. Here’s a look at some of the top industry stories making headlines in October.
Truck Tonnage Falls in September
For-hire truck tonnage slipped 0.9 percent in September after rising 4.7 percent during August, according to the American Trucking Association.
The decline in freight tonnage may reflect the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma last month, especially along the Gulf Coast and in Florida. Freight impacts from the storms continued into early October as disruptions eased.
Freight demand is expected to pick up as the rebuilding from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the wildfires in California adds to freight demand. According to load board operator DAT Solutions, the surging demand is already seen in the flatbed spot market.
Diesel Rises to $2.819 Per Gallon
Diesel fuel prices were also affected by disruptions at oil refineries in Texas caused by Hurricane Harvey. As of October 23, the U.S. average price of a gallon of diesel fuel was up one cent to $2.797 a gallon, and was up to $2.819 a gallon by October 30, according to the Department of Energy.
Diesel costs 34 cents a gallon more than it did this time last year, according to DOE’s Energy Information Administration.
Trucking companies are feeling the effects of rising fuel prices and other cost increases this year on their profits.
To read more about the latest change in diesel fuel prices, check out the article on Transport Topics.
ELD Mandate on Track; Trucking Industry Prepares
As the mandatory ELD implementation approaches, the trucking industry is preparing for transition from paper logbooks to electronic logging devices. This mandate has been implemented to help create safer working environment for the trucking community.
Though violations will be recorded and picked up, there are some exceptions to the rule. Read more on Insurance Business Magazine.
FMCSA Hosts Webinar on HOS Concerns
On October 24, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration held a webinar to talk about Hours of Service Concerns amongst other hot topics in the industry. Hours of Service laws dictate when and how long truck drivers can operate. These laws are in place to avoid having overtired drivers on the road, which can endanger truckers and others.
Some smaller owner-operators and the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association have resisted the ELD rule and in some cases filed lawsuits against the mandate that have reached the Supreme Court.
For more information on topics discussed during the FMCSA webinar, read here.
CargoNet Launches Tool to Help Identify Theft Risk by Route
CargoNet announced it has upgraded its system to provide a new online tool, named RouteSearch, to detect risk of cargo theft incident by carriers’ and drivers’ routes. Members can custom build routes within the portal to evaluate theft risk based on CargoNet’s historical data. Read more here on Overdrive.
ATA Committee Aims to Tackle Driver Shortage
Recruiting and retaining professional drivers was a major topic at the American Trucking Associations’ annual management conference and exhibition in October.
According to the ATA, the trucking industry needs to hire nearly one million drivers and technicians in the next ten years. A large chunk of trucking’s current workforce are near retirement age and the freight market is expected to expand, leaving a gap that will need to be filled.
The ATA created a new workforce development subcommittee with the goal of determining solutions to the expected gap.
To read more about some of their current ideas, check them out on Transport Topics.
Court Puts GHG 2 on Hold for Trailers
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has put off indefinitely the implementation date for trailers under the federal government’s heavy-duty truck fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards, known as GHG2.
The court granted the stay, as requested in a petition by the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association (TTMA).
The GHG2 rule, implemented by the Obama Administration in 2016, was designed to reduce carbon emissions by more than a billion metric tons through 2027. The TTMA argued the trailer portion of the rule, requiring new trailers to be equipped with aerodynamic devices, fuel efficient tires, and other elements to improve fuel efficiency, was not under the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority.
To read more about this ruling, check out the full article on Fleetowner.
FedEx and UPS Lay Differences Aside to Lobby White House on Infrastructure
Frederick Smith and David Abney, the CEOs of FedEx and UPS have put their differences in the back seat to co-author an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal urging the White House to take action on economic growth opportunities.
In the letter, both CEOs express a willingness to privately invest and state the need for multi-faceted funding systems that include user fees, private investment, and government investment. There is a concern that the private investments will be delegated to other projects beyond the scope of the infrastructure FedEx and UPS use every day. Abney has stated that the daily 5-minute delays that UPS drivers incur due to infrastructure costs the company about $105 million annually.
Read more on how the two shipping giants are standing shoulder to shoulder and President Trump’s response here.
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