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Federal panel recommends military drivers help clear ports

Commerce Department to consider voluntary and paid opportunities for veterans and National Guardsmen

Supply chain panel targeting Army reserve drivers to clear ports. (Photo: US Army)

A federal advisory committee is recommending that the Biden administration work out a plan to give voluntary and paid truck driving jobs to active military, veterans and National Guardsmen to clear cargo containers from congested ports.

The recommendation, part of several made earlier this week by the Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness (ACSCC) to address the ongoing freight supply chain crisis, adds to growing pressure on federal agencies to take more decisive action.

ACSCC, a group within the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, approved the recommendation on Thursday to be submitted to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

“The intent behind this is, there’s a shortage of drivers, and I’m beginning to learn there’s also a shortage of trucks due to parts shortages,” said ACSCC Vice Chairman Rick Gabrielson, who also runs a logistics consultancy. “But in talking with a number of trucking companies, they do have trucks up against the fence and they could use some support. It won’t solve the entire problem, but it may help go through and get some cargo moved which helps with the congestion.”

The panel urges the Commerce Department to work with the Department of Defense as well as ports and trucking company leaders to “immediately promote and facilitate volunteer opportunities at U.S. trucking companies, as well as compensated activities to the extent allowed” by the Defense Department and ethics rules.

“The [Commerce] Department, together with the Department of Transportation, should work with the U.S. insurance industry to resolve impediments to this effort,” according to a letter to be sent to Raimondo.

Gabrielson pointed out that military truck driving experience is not always recognized by the insurance agencies. “Maybe this is a foundation for individuals who come out from serving our country and would like to continue that vocation.”

Also recommended to Raimondo by the panel on Thursday was urging Congress to establish a baseline $1,000-per-chassis investment tax credit or rebate for U.S. truck chassis manufacturers to stimulate increased U.S. truck chassis production. “Consideration should be given to the use of radial tires, LED lights, and tracking options in the manufacturing process,” the panel advised.

The recommendation also included providing a one-time grant to any U.S. truck chassis manufacturer that establishes a new U.S. production site and commits to producing an agreed-upon minimum number of container chassis per year. ACSCC further advised a two-year suspension of U.S. countervailing duties on chassis manufactured in China as an additional move to address the chassis shortage.

Other recommendations by the panel included establishing a short-term, public-private supply chain “congestion crisis collaboration group” at major container ports that uses all available industry and government resources to expedite container cargo between the ports and end users.

The department was also advised by the panel to work with other federal agencies to incentivize U.S. ports, trucking companies, railroads and shippers to install information-sharing technologies and cargo location data to help each supply chain link improve cargo movement throughout the ports’ supply chains.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.


  1. Alex D

    So we over regulate the port and then overregulation the drivers and force the “unusable” trucks and drivers out now we are short. The port congestion keeps rates at a premium due to supply shortage. Another way for the government to screw trucking

  2. Mark H George

    The government is our biggest problem. Good supply chain solutions that my company put in place to deal with major port congestion issues were immediately “shut down” and discontinued. Solutions that worked- put quickly eliminated by government!!!

  3. I seen

    Government agents are telling people to pull over or I’ll shoot you in the head when I drive buy when someone talks on the cb radio about themselves at night . Someone said they’re internal security doing police work for the UN . Another said were freelance security agents going from truck stop to truck stop Hustling up somebody to arrest for a commission check from the prison system. We have this 15 year old runaway girl have sex with you then arrest you for stagitory rape. Or leave a bag of meth at the driver’s entrance or fuel island and arrest whoever picks it up .

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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.