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FMCSA clarifies, expands range of cargo included under HOS waiver

Fertilizer needed at farms in time for spring planting. Credit: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is providing more detail as requests come in about what is covered under the agency’s emergency hours-of-service (HOS) waiver.

The FMCSA expanded its original order, issued on March 13 in response to supply chain disruptions caused by the coronavirus emergency, to include raw materials such as paper, plastic and fuel used to make essential items.

In response to urging from a variety of industry sectors, the agency published an FAQ on Wednesday defining other commodities included in the waiver, including fertilizer, food packaging and feed products.

“We thank Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao and FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen for adding fertilizer to the essential commodities list,” commented The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch. “At the end of the day, it’s about putting food on Americans’ tables.”

Rosenbusch pointed out that fertilizer relies on trucking to get crop nutrients to farmers. “With the spring planting session upon us, any delays could lead to farmers not getting the essential crop nutrients when and where they are needed to grow the food, fuel and fiber our world needs.”

A group of 53 farm- and food-related associations, including the National Grain & Feed Association, had urged FMCSA to include animal food and feed ingredients, which the agency granted. It explicitly stated that pet food, however, was not included, despite urging from the Pet Food Institute.

The updated guidance also clarified that raw materials used to manufacture bleach, disinfectants, hand sanitizers and similar items are covered.


  1. Johnny Dark

    I remember a time when the trucking industry was able to supply America without a government declaration every time a problem arose. I hope the trucking fat cats are happy with their elds. Strangling themselves with their own leash.

  2. Heather Proudfoot

    How about finding sanitizing & disinfecting supplies to those of us hauling food & other essential supplies as we travel coast to coast? We cannot keep our trucks, equipment & ourselves “germ free” if there are no resources available to us. How about also putting us at the top of the list to be tested as we could be contaminating product & other drivers when we load our trailers , stop for a shower , or obtain food. We need help to continue supplying the country!

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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.