Today’s Pickup: FMCSA and ATA talk regulations at SMC3

 A livestock hauler. ( Photo: )
A livestock hauler. ( Photo: )

Good day,

FreightWaves was at the SMC3’s Connections 2018 conference at The Greenbrier in West Virginia yesterday for several panels, including one about the impact of ELDs. Ari Ashe, associate editor of the Journal of Commerce, moderated the conversation between Larry Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy at the FMCSA and Dan Horvath, the ATA’s Director of Safety Policy.

Since ‘hard enforcement’ began on April 1, a lack of driver training and software bugs have been the most common ELD-related issues reported by the ATA’s membership, said Horvath. Horvath also said that concerns about the affordability of complying with the ELD mandate proved to be unfounded, because compliant devices can be purchased for about $35. 

58% of the audience watching the panel agreed with the statement that “truckload capacity is the tightest I’ve seen in my career”, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a large number of drivers left the industry because of ELDs: Larry Minor pointed out that based on requests for DOT numbers, the FMCSA has not seen any decrease in the number of people entering the industry. 

Did you know?

Following flat volumes in April, the 3% month-over-month decline in May was not unexpected, as historical data indicates that used truck sales volumes usually dip in late spring. Longer-term comparisons, however, show used truck sales volumes up 12% year-to-date compared to the same period in 2017, according to the latest release of the State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks, published by ACT Research.


“You can make up time and hours by thinking of ways to keep your average up without simply driving faster at the top end. Shorter stops, smart lane selection, timing duty cycles, navigation, etc. Smooth is fast. Forward awareness, timing traffic and progressive acceleration (and deceleration) tactics lead to better overall averages.”

-J.D. Doyle, CTO of LinkeDrive, on how truck drivers can increase their average velocity

In other news:

Cummins will pay tariff to import engines from its own plants in China

Cummins Inc., which imports engines and other products from its factories in China, is among U.S. companies likely to be stung by an American tariff on Chinese-made goods that takes effect next month. (Wall Street Journal)

CN, CP to help fund Vancouver port infrastructure work

Canada’s Minister of Transport Marc Garneau announced late last week the government would invest CA$167 million in three projects to improve port infrastructure and rail infrastructure. (Progressive Railroading)

Local forwarders must diversify as trade boom attracts global 3PLs to Vietnam

A surging Vietnamese economy has created space for local forwarders to expand across South-east Asia, but it is also attracting international 3PLs, creating fierce competition. (The LoadStar)

Why protectionist rhetoric is roiling markets

Financial markets have long been able to ignore the spillover from political and geopolitical developments. Now, they seem a lot more sensitive to possible disruptions these events could cause to growth and corporate earnings, and with good reason: The threats seem to be spreading and the fortifications are weaker. (Bloomberg)

OPEC highlights: the Stories that count from Vienna oil marathon

A marathon of oil diplomacy is finally at an end. After a week of ministers criss-crossing Vienna for conferences, committee meetings and one-to-one sit-downs, the show has finally left town. (Hellenic Shipping News)

Final Thoughts:

At SMC3, Larry Minor of the FMCSA said that in the very near future, the agency will publish specific parameters for a large-scale flexible sleeper pilot program, noting that the limited trials performed so far were promising. He also discussed the new guidance on personal conveyance regulations, and the FMCSA’s determination to provide flexibility for agricultural drivers, especially those hauling livestock. 

The working relationship between the ATA and FMCSA seemed productive, based on the conversation between Horvath and Minor, and we at FreightWaves continue to look forward to the FMCSA’s efforts to provide clarity and flexibility for the transportation industry. 

Hammer down everyone!

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John Paul Hampstead, Associate Editor

John Paul writes about current events and economics, especially politics, finance, and commodities, and holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Michigan. In previous lives John Paul studied Shakespeare in London and Buddhism in India, but now he focuses on transportation and logistics in the heart of Freight Alley--Chattanooga. He spends his free time with his wife and daughter herding cats, collecting books, and walking alongside the Tennessee River.