Higher costs, delays predicted with new trucking regulations - The Packer

Higher costs, delays predicted with new trucking regulations

12/01/2011 03:37:00 PM
Tom Karst

An array of food and transportation industry panelists warned the Department of Transportation that pending regulations limiting hours of service by truck drivers will create delays in shipments and raise costs for consumers.

In a hearing Nov. 30 by the House Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending, lawmakers were warned that the reduction in allowable driving hours from 11 hours a day to 10 hours a day and other hours of service restricts will have immediate and costly consequences.

“If the Department of Transportation decides to finalize its proposed hours of service rules, it will mean higher prices for food products and all other items sold in grocery stores,” said Glen Keysaw, director of transportation and logistics for Associated Food Stores Inc., Salt Lake City.

Keysaw testified on behalf of the Washington, D.C.-based Food Marketing Institute and said his company estimates a 3% increase in freight because of the proposed regulations. What’s more, he said the changes will result in reductions of deliveries to retail stores — notably night deliveries — which he said will translate to shortages of products on stores shelves.

In comments submitted to the Department of Transportation, the FMI regulatory counsel Erik Lieberman urged the agency to abandon the effort to implement new rules.

Trucking companies are nearly unanimous in advising the Department of Transportation to keep  hours of service at 11 hours, said Kenny Lund, vice president of support operations for La Canada, Calif.-based Allen Lund Co. Inc.

“The changes they made in 2004 have proven to be very good changes. They have yielded a great safety record,” he said.

Lund said if federal regulations cut hours of service to 10 hours, it could be devastating to produce shippers, adding that transportation time from the West Coast to the East Coast could be lengthened by a day, which for some items like strawberries can eat up 25% of the shelf life.

What’s more, Lund said food distribution centers have been set up for one-day delivery schedules. If driver hours are reduced, then more distant round trip shipments could no longer be made in one day.

“It really messes up a lot of distribution by taking that one hour out,” Lund said.

Tommy Chase, transportation manager with Progreso Produce Ltd., Boerne, Texas, said the regulation figures to have more of an effect on coast to coast shipments of perishable commodities such as lettuce, strawberries and broccoli as opposed to more durable commodities like onions and potatoes.


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Gary GARVIN    
VALENTINE NE  |  December, 02, 2011 at 12:41 PM

GOOD ARTICLE. MAYBE PEOPLE IN THE KNOW WILL START REALIZING THAT THE COUNTRY IS SHORT OF PROFESSIONAL TRUCK DRIVERS.

Mark Taylor    
Mpls,Mn.  |  December, 08, 2011 at 02:00 PM

Shortage where I am looking for a job. I have my CDL-A. I did have to take some time off to help my wife with her depression & to keep her alive but, now I'm back & looking

Gary GARVIN    
VALENTINE NE  |  December, 02, 2011 at 12:45 PM

MAYBE PEOPLE WILL START REALIZING WITH ALL THESE ADDED REGULATIONS WHAT IT REALLY COSTS THE AVERAGE CONSUMER.

Michael Gennario    
Bullhead City AZ  |  December, 08, 2011 at 11:37 AM

What I see are a bunch of people who NEVER logged mile one behind the wheel listening to people who honestly have no clue about what this buisness is about. The orignal HOS rules were workable 10 driving 8 in the sleeper etc but then they screwed that up with the "new" HOS by doing away with the off duty rule Companies have their say Lobbyists have their say Shippers and Receivers have their say as do Brokers Congressmen etc etc etc ..My question is ..When the hell will they ever ask THE DRIVER yanno the guy who actually DOES the job for HIS/HER opinion ????When will ya'll wake up? when the country is sitting in the dark munching on a celery stalk cause that was all that made it to market?? This is a very good article Now let's see if anybody is really listening!!!!

Robert Pruitt    
Salt Lake City, UT  |  December, 10, 2011 at 08:34 AM

Gary you make a very good point. It is nice for people to sit back and make policy decisions, but the problem is they are listening to everyone but the one that actually does the work. The truckers know best about how the HOS rules are affecting them. While others may sit at a desk and crunch numbers for safety, etc, they SHOULD take input from the actual drivers, especially the OTR/long haul drivers. These are the primary movers of goods coast to coast. 1 hour of driving won't make a massive change, but it can add up if people are not careful. The problem is, though, the HOS only accounts for the actual time the truck is moving, not the pre-trip, the loading and unloading, etc. My biological father and little brother drove trucks and with over 50 years between them, they indicated that anyone can drive safely and effectively with the current HOS, problems occur when people try to go beyond what they are capable of and start doing things unsafely. While team drivers can cover more mileage during the same time than sole drivers, you still are going to run into issues with respect to the HOS if it is not balanced with the actual work that truck drivers do. These are the people that are the backbone of our economy, the distribution of goods and services and their input should be factored into any new regulations, especially as it is they that have to carry them out and the cost of them is going to translate into actual deliveries and costs to the consumer.

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