On April 9, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert issued an order requiring a travel declaration for all vehicles entering the state. On Friday, Herbert clarified that order, issuing a series of exemptions, including for truck drivers.
During a media briefing on Friday, April 10, Utah Department of Public Safety Commissioner Jess Anderson said commercial airline employees, truck drivers, public safety officials, active military, healthcare providers and those who live across state lines but travel into Utah for work are exempt from the order. Those exempt from the order will still receive a notification on their phone, but they can ignore it unless they show signs of COVID-19.
For all other drivers, the Utah Department of Transportation will collect the information in an electronic form that individuals will receive via text message upon entering the state. The order requires every individual 18 years of age or older who enters Utah, either as a final destination through the Salt Lake City International Airport, or on Utah roads, to complete a travel declaration form before entering the state.
A wireless emergency alert system near the state’s borders will notify those entering by car and truck of the need to complete a declaration online.
This order went into effect at 8 a.m. on April 10, 2020, and remains in effect until 11:59 p.m. on May 1, 2020.
Kentucky extends truck exemptions
Kentucky has extended its emergency order for truck drivers delivering essential goods and services. The order was set to expire at midnight on Sunday, April 12. The new order extends the exemptions through June 1, 2020.
“This is just one of the many steps being taken to get much-needed supplies and services deployed as quickly as possible to areas that need them most,” Gov. Andy Beshear said. “We are all pulling together. We will get through this pandemic, and we will get through it together.”
The order applies to vehicles engaged in response to the pandemic and relieves drivers from maximum driving times and weigh station stops. In addition, the order authorizes the state’s Transportation Cabinet’s Department of Vehicle Regulation to waive permit fees for overweight/over-dimensional vehicles. Carriers must comply with safety requirements and have a copy of the order in the truck cab if operating under the authority of the official order.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s COVID-19 emergency declaration runs through May 15.
Nebraska Trucking Association launches #ThankaTrucker
The Nebraska Trucking Association (NTA) has begun handing out free lunches to truck drivers as part of its #ThankaTrucker campaign.
Businesses and individuals can sponsor a free lunch, which will be handed out at locations where truckers frequent. Kids can also draw posters thanking a trucker and submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org. The posters will be displayed throughout the state.
NTA has also partnered with the Nebraska State Patrol to hand out sanitary packs to truckers.
UPS supporting face shield manufacturing
The UPS Foundation is providing shipping services to a University of Louisville project to create face shields on 3D printers. The project by the university’s Additive Manufacturing Institute of Science & Technology (AMIST) started with a goal of providing face shields to local Louisville hospitals and other first responders.
Ed Tackett, who leads workforce development for the AMIST facility for Speed School, said that project expanded and there are now over 30,000 orders for face shields to be shipped around the country.
The group has set up four production lines and has a team of 70 volunteers producing 3,000 shields a day.
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to support a project that will help doctors, nurses and others who are on the front lines of the pandemic crisis,” UPS Airlines President Brendan Canavan said. “It’s times like these when the spirit of our community comes through most strongly.”
In addition to AMIST, additive manufacturer Fast Radius, located on the UPS Louisville Supply Chain Solutions campus, and Robojockeys, a high school robotics team, also are producing the face shields and delivering them to the university for shipment. Injection molding capacity by Samtec and Grote Industries have nearly doubled output.
Milk dumping is unfortunate, but necessary
Social media was abuzz this past week with videos of farmers dumping milk. While consumers in some areas can’t find milk in local stores, the images of milk being poured into the ground created an uproar.
Katelyn Walley-Stoll, a farm business management specialist, and Alycia Drwencke, a dairy management specialist, both with the Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Program, explained the practice in an op-ed published on April 11, 2020, in the Evening Tribune.
According to the authors, milk demand has decreased in the U.S. by about 10% due mostly to the closing of restaurants and schools, which has seen a 60% drop in demand. Retail locations are reporting a 40% increase, but it has not been enough to offset the drop.
“While we often think of milk as our companion to cookies and our morning cereal, it is also made into things like cheese, yogurt, evaporated milk and ice cream,” they write. “These products require additional time and costly infrastructure investments to produce. It’s not easy for milk plants and production facilities that were set up to make 50-pound bags of shredded cheese for large-scale buyers to quickly convert to packaging one-pound bags for retail. Similarly, fluid milk plants that were producing cartons or large bags of milk for schools and other institutions can’t easily switch to bottling one-gallon containers. The shift from bulk packaging to meeting the needs of home consumers is also creating delays in getting milk from farm to fridge.”
They note that there is not a lack of milk, but rather delays in getting milk to the consumer due to supply chain and production constraints, necessitating the dumping of the milk due to its perishable nature.
“As one of the most regulated food products in our country, there is a limited amount of time between milk leaving the farm in large tanker trucks to when it’s made into a final product. Because of this perishability, farmers can’t hold onto milk when buyers aren’t taking orders or store it until prices are high – they have to sell their milk, or dispose of it responsibly, within days of production,” they said.
Food trucks to set up at New Mexico rest stops
The New Mexico Department of Transportation said that food trucks will be allowed to operate at rest stops, in accordance with the Federal Department of Transportation’s order this week.
“The food trucks will provide an additional option for commercial drivers and other travelers, especially in rural areas in between cities and towns. Our goal is to provide as many options as possible for necessary travelers to stay safe and reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread,” DOT Secretary Mike Sandoval said in a statement.
While food trucks will be at rest stops, the state’s governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, is looking at how the state can screen truckers.
“Like all of these supplies, it has been incredibly challenging to get thermometers. I call them the temperature guns, so that you can do that at a safe distance with personnel who can gather that information,” Grisham said, according to KRQE.
The governor is asking truckers entering the state to declare symptoms of COVID-19 when they enter New Mexico so officials can unload the trucks without jeopardizing anyone else’s health, the report said.
Circle Logistics tracking FEMA, grocery loads
Circle Logistics is using MacroPoint, a real-time tracking system from Descartes (Nasdaq: DSGX) to help the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) track critical medical and grocery loads. The need for higher levels of tracking is due to demand and the importance of the loads, said Andrew Smith, vice president of sales and operations at Circle Logistics.
“Our team is truly rallying in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. We’ve shifted our entire transportation network to manage a 700% increase in volume from customers moving critical freight, including personal protective equipment (PPE), respirators and cots for FEMA and grocery loads for major brands,” he said. “Descartes MacroPoint provides the visibility platform that our whole organization can use to track the movement of these goods. Without it, pivoting business and moving our 12 offices to a work-from-home environment would have been much more challenging.”
MacroPoint offers real-time location, status and estimated time of arrival for loads.