Francis Scott Key Bridge

Regulators Aid Truckers After Bridge Disaster

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Matthew Schore
Dry Van

On March 26, we woke up to the news that a container ship had hit the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Maryland and caused its collapse into the Patapsco River. The deadly accident also forced the closure of the Port of Baltimore, the nation’s largest import hub for vehicles and farm equipment.

In response to the disaster, Maryland and the commonwealths of Pennsylvania and Virginia have waived the International Registration Plan and International Fuel Tax Association (IFTA) rules for truck drivers hauling freight to or from a seaport. In addition, an emergency declaration by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended truckers’ allowable driving time and relaxed electronic logging device (ELD) rules.

There is other industry news outside Maryland. XPO has begun opening terminals it acquired from bankrupt Yellow; an FMCSA apprenticeship program for truck drivers under age 21 has had a disappointing number of applicants; debate surrounds proposed commercial driver’s license (CDL) testing changes; and Volvo Truck’s president says achieving net-zero carbon emissions would be “a win for everybody.”

Tax, HOS, ELD Rules Eased in Wake of Bridge Disaster

Maryland, Virginia, and Maryland have waived the International Registration Plan and IFTA requirements for truck drivers hauling freight to or from a seaport following the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse.

In addition, the FMCSA has extended truckers’ maximum driving time by two hours and relaxed ELD rules for drivers providing direct assistance to the disaster response, according to Supply Chain Dive. FMCSA’s emergency declaration will remain in effect until May 8.

IFTA requirements in Maryland for truck drivers hauling freight to or from a seaport will be waived through May 31, Supply Chain Dive said. The state has also pushed back the quarterly IFTA tax return deadline from April 30 to June 30.

XPO Opens Former Yellow terminals in 3 States

Less-than-truckload carrier XPO has opened three of the 28 terminals it acquired from now-defunct Yellow Corp. in Nashville, Tennessee; Grand Junction, Colorado; and Nogales, Arizona.

XPO reportedly bid $870 million for 26 owned service centers and two leased terminals. FreightWaves said XPO acquired about 2,900 terminal doors in the Yellow auction. All the acquired terminals are expected to open within about a year and a half following upgrades, repairs, and XPO rebranding.

“Our first three acquired facilities have launched on schedule, following our landmark investment in our network. With a deeper presence in strategic markets, we are introducing new premium services and expanding our existing offerings, such as our cross-border service with Mexico,” CEO Mario Harik said in an XPO news release.

Only 113 Carriers Apply for FMCSA Under-21 Driver Program

Apparently, young people are not clamoring to be truck drivers. FreightWaves reported that only 113 motor carriers have applied for the FMCSA’s apprenticeship program for truck drivers under age 21 since it began taking applications in July 2022. And 38 of those applications were rejected for “not meeting FMCSA’s safety performance criteria.”

Supporters of under-21 apprenticeships include the American Trucking Associations (ATA), Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA), and National Retail Federation, according to FreightWaves, which said opponents include the National Transportation Safety Board and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA).

“OOIDA has asserted that carriers’ inability to retain drivers has more to do with pay and working conditions as opposed to a driver shortage,” FreightWaves said.

Trucking Industry Debates Proposed CDL Testing Changes

An FMCSA proposal to loosen CDL testing requirements also has supporters and opponents speaking up.

The proposed rule reportedly would allow those with a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) who have passed the CDL skills test to operate a truck without having a CDL holder in the cab; allow CDL applicants to take skills tests in states they don’t live in; and eliminate the requirement that a CDL applicant wait at least two weeks after obtaining a CLP to take the skills test.

In published comments, Danny Bradford, chairman of the CVTA, said that “delays associated with wait-time and test-location requirements ‘put jobs on hold for 258,744 drivers and resulted in over $1 billion in lost wages for these drivers.’”

On the other side of the argument, Todd Spencer, president and CEO of OOIDA, said, “Given the minimum nature of current entry-level driver training (ELDT) standards, inexperienced drivers will face countless conditions, scenarios, and other challenges they had absolutely no training for during their first months and even years on the road. Eliminating [the CDL holder/passenger seat requirement] ignores the fact that well-trained, more experienced drivers have better safety records and can pass their knowledge along to less seasoned drivers.”

Volvo Head Says Zero Emissions Would Be ‘Win for Everybody’

President Roger Alm said Volvo Trucks’ goal for 100% net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 would “create a win for everybody.”

“We need to create a win for our customers. Our customers need to win by having us as a supplier. Our employees need to win by working for Volvo. Our owners need to win by investing in us. And society needs to win by everything we are doing,” Alm said, according to Transport Topics.

Alm said Volvo Trucks is “making huge investments” in the transformation to zero emissions.

A.N. Webber Is Fully Compliant With Trucking Regulations

A.N. Webber Logistics is fully compliant with all state and federal regulations and stays informed through its affiliations with such organizations as the ATA, National American Transportation Management Association, Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, Transportation Intermediaries Association, and Mid-West Truckers Association Inc.

Compliance and attention to detail are particularly important for nonstandard freight, including open deck and flatbed, and regulation-heavy cross-border shipping. A.N. Webber’s experienced logistics team can expertly handle it all.

Contact A.N. Webber Logistics and get a quote today.


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