So far, no truck shortage affecting produce industry

03/22/2013 02:42:00 PM
Tom Burfield

The cutbacks could result in delays of up to five days in cargo examinations for ocean cargo and five to six hours for air cargo, she said.

Staying abreast of the latest rules and regulations governing the trucking industry always is a challenge for carriers, and trucking associations stay busy lobbying for or against proposed legislation.

One of the most significant changes this year was new, more stringent rules implemented by the California Air Resource Board that limit emissions from refrigeration units.

Shippers, receivers and carriers all can be fined if a unit is out of compliance.

“If they are not compliant with their equipment, they’re not going to be loading out of California,” Gable said.

Bigelow Truck Brokers is rearranging schedules so that trucks that aren’t resource board-compliant do not go into California.

Also, drivers now are being scrutinized more closely than ever under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program, Kipp said.

Under the program, a carrier’s safety record is available for public scrutiny on the Web.

Carriers don’t want to hire drivers who might drag down the company’s compliance score, he said.

Finally, as in the agriculture industry, many drivers are reaching retirement age, and not many young people are entering the industry, Stoiber said.

“We’re hitting a personnel funnel,” he said.

Some efforts are being made to lower the minimum age for a commercial driver’s license to 19 or 20, rather than 21.

This might encourage 18-year-olds who are thinking about choosing a career to enter the trucking industry, he said. It also could provide jobs for returning veterans who learned the necessary skills in the military.


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