Watch Now

Consumer goods group lobbies for federal ‘air traffic control’ for trucks

Carriers would be required to participate in government data collection to measure available freight capacity

Truck capacity management proposed to be coordinated by feds. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves at DFW Airport)

The consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry wants the federal government to get involved in initiatives that measure freight demand — currently deployed solely by the private sector — to get a more accurate picture of available trucking capacity.

The proposal was included in a study released Tuesday sponsored by the Consumer Brands Association (CBA), the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals and Iowa State University. The purpose: Identify, through industry comments and suggestions, supply chain challenges and opportunities for the CPG industry that are directly impacted by public policy in the wake of the pandemic.

“The pandemic displayed just how fragile and essential supply chains are, especially for vulnerable populations where access, affordability and availability are paramount,” said CBA President and CEO Geoff Freeman.

“Supply chains deliver for millions of consumers every day, yet they don’t receive the necessary coordinated attention from our policymakers. Greater federal leadership on supply chain policy will lead to a stronger economic recovery, growth and stability for future crises.”

One of the focus areas was assessing ways to optimize freight movement over national transportation networks, particularly in the trucking sector. Truck transportation makes up more than 40% of total freight logistics costs in the country, the study noted, and transportation accounts for the largest share of order cycle time variability in most supply chains, “thus affecting inventory levels, stock-out costs and on-time delivery.”

One way to tackle those costs would be to devise a highway traffic control system similar to the air traffic control system regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“There are several private sector initiatives doing this (e.g., Project 44, Macro Point and Trimble), but each is constrained by the number of shippers and carriers subscribing to their service,” the study points out. “Only the federal government can mandate the participation of all trucking companies (and other highway users) to achieve true optimization.”

It noted that the government, along with issues involving data security and protecting proprietary information are the primary obstacles because “Internet of Things” technology that optimizes freight capacity already exists. “The system could also include passenger vehicles for urban and last-mile parcel delivery,” the study suggested.

CBA’s study cited data privacy issues raised by the U.S. Department of Transportation in its National Freight Strategic Plan released last year, in which it stated that advances in technology that allow for more cost-effective collection and analysis of public and private data would better inform DOT policy decisions.

However, the study asserts, DOT “does not seem to consider that it may have a role in collecting and sharing data that would benefit the public” on a national level, even though DOT’s strategic plan describes a successful program funded by DOT that optimizes short-haul drayage at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

CBA recommended creating a White House Office of Supply Chain (OSC) to coordinate supply chain policies among federal agencies and also to coordinate with the private sector.

“The OSC should focus on three high-level (or macro-level) objectives of national supply chain policy: Supply Chain Security, Supply Chain Efficiency and Supply Chain Resilience. These are the fundamental requirements of a strong and enabling national supply chain. The OSC should develop national supply chain policies and the metrics for assessing progress in achieving them.”

Related articles:

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.


  1. Mark stack

    The macro point cost use money in extra data. We had a few brokers that wanted us to use it again and we told them absolutely not. We still haul the freight and macro is out.we still deliver early of our appointment time like we have for years and will continue to do so. More government involvement is definitely not the answer. It’s seems more and more people want to get into our pockets it needs to stop.

  2. Mark Lake

    What The trucking industry needs in order to improve the flow of freight is more parking not more regulations. Every major metropolitan area requires thousands of trucks daily to provide goods and services yet provide no facilities for those trucks to park. The truck stops have limited parking available for their customers. It is not their responsibility to provide that for the entire city.
    The situation is exacerbated by many municipalities passing ordinances prohibiting truck parking entirely. Tear down some of those old abandoned buildings and create safe havens for the vehicles that provide the lifeblood needed by everyone. We don’t need another wasteful government entity.

  3. Kim Taylor

    It’s got to be Democrats wanting that BS because they are always in favor of big government. Democrats believe that people always need Big Brother running things. Nobody in their right mind should want the Federal government running the trucking industry. It will just be another way for Democrat politicians to line their pockets with special interest money.

  4. Hakeem Spencer

    Please go away. This Nation has been able to get consumer goods and various products from “shipper” to “end user” since the Interstate Highway Systems were built. Somehow the shipping of produce, meats, furniture, clothing, medical supplies and other dry goods happened successfully, long before satellites, computers, cell phones and electronic logging devices were even invented, let alone used by millions of people as they are today.

    This idea will create a bottle neck or a choke point in the [natural] flow of the trucking industry. This plan will also have an associated “cost of operation” attached to it and it must be paid if this is to exist. What are the plans to finance this additional federal government bureaucracy?

    Please stop and go find another industry to make your money on – or get out here and drive with the rest of us. If you must do some type of oversight/micro management work… I heard those folks in the Silicon Valley area of California are looking for some new federal government oversight.

  5. Darrell

    No more government involvement! DOT needs to be shutdown! FMCSA needs to be shutdown! All logbook rules & regulations needs to be trashed! Get off of our backs and keep your hands out of our pockets. Enough is enough!!

    1. Tcs53

      Regulated freight was a good thing. Everybody made money,look at all the trucking companies that there used to be. They went out of business because of deregulation. But this is nonsense,the federal government can’t even run the Post Office, and people want them to get involved in monitoring empty’s. When they talk about the “White House” they’re talking about Democrats and Biden. This administration wants you to be more “socialist “ in your business. They want State run everything, like all socialist countries.

  6. Doc

    Who in their right mind wants the government to be involved in anything? Remember the success FEMA had during Katrina? Corrupt politicians and Big Business should never be put in the same barn.

Comments are closed.

John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.