Today’s Pickup: Trucker protest in Indianapolis fizzles; Amazon developer ponies up

Good day,

About 60 truckers took part in a “slow roll” protest in Indianapolis Thursday in reaction to a federal mandate that truckers use electronic logging devices (ELDs) that monitor how many hours they work; drivers claim the digital tracking is an invasion of privacy and leads to pay cuts. Social media accounts had predicted around 200 trucks, but far fewer showed up, said Sergeant Joe Perrine, public affairs officer for the Indiana State Police. Several similar protests have taken place around the country since the fall of 2018, with about the same number of participants in attendance. Many of the truckers’ complaints will be addressed as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reviews the 2017 ELD regulations.

Did you know?

The latest release of ACT Research’s For-Hire Trucking Index showed an improvement in freight volumes and truck productivity in January, after a soft finish to 2018. The Volume Index rose to 52.0 in January, from 49.0 in December.


“The UK politicians are on one planet and the EU are on another. I can’t see it ending any other way than a no-deal.”

-Pauline Bastidon, the head of European policy and Brexit at the Freight Transport Association

Source: FreightWaves

In other news:

Cargill opens up

Acting on customer concerns about climate change, the world’s biggest agricultural company plans to provide more transparency on its supply chain. (Bloomberg)

Know thy chicken

Food tracking gets smart with poultry monitors and blockchain berry-tracking (WSJ)

The feds cancel funds for California’s high-speed train network, but monorails, no speed limits remain on the docket

Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez weighs in on an array of transportation proposals (Los Angeles Times)

Idaho city asks developer to pony up for infrastructure upgrades connected to Amazon fulfillment center

The Nampa City Council authorized an agreement with the center’s developer, who will fund $14 million in road upgrades. (IdahoStatesman)

The race is on in California to switch from diesel-burning freight trucks to electric big rigs

The transition is aimed at cutting greenhouse gases and air pollution that impacts low-income neighborhoods. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Final thoughts:

Black Smoke Matters, the group that has organized the most recent trucker protests against the electronic logging devices (ELDs), is calling for a nationwide strike on April 12. But if the anemic participation rates at various state rallies are any indication, the national shout-out won’t get the turnout leaders are hoping for.

Plus, the movement has already splintered since truckers first started protesting the ELDs back in 2017.

“I am no longer part of this movement,” said Charles Claburn, a trucker in Mississippi who was part of the initial movement. “It was highjacked by the antics of Black Smoke Matters and lost any real grassroots meaning. It is now just an anarchist group of truckers who have no real idea of the issues, of the progress of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). They are just mad angry people.”

Hammer down everyone!

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Linda Baker, Senior Environment and Technology Reporter

Linda Baker is a FreightWaves senior reporter based in Portland, Oregon. Her beat includes autonomous vehicles, the startup scene, clean trucking, and emissions regulations. Please send tips and story ideas to