Nearly 70 percent of all freight moved in the United States travels by truck, a haul that totals an eye-popping 10 billion tons each year, according to the American Trucking Associations, a trade group. Without trucks, the American economy brakes to a halt. Despite the industry’s importance, itsprogress has long been impeded by its fragmentation—the tens of thousands of small trucking carriers needing intermediaries to transact business with shippers. Such brokers typically rely on telephone calls to engage the parties—not the most efficient or cost-effective means of moving freight in an age of on-demand commerce.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance says the burden placed on roadside inspectors by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is becoming excessive, specifically because of the large number of hours and other exemptions being granted to drivers and carriers. In a letter to FMCSA last week, CVSA Executive Director Collin B. Mooney said there were more than 20 exemption applications or renewal requests granted in 2015, including some for vehicle equipment, hours-of-service and more
Trucking volumes fell in the first month of 2016, as excess business inventories put a lid on shipping demand to start the year.
The American Trucking Associations’ seasonally-adjusted truck tonnage index slipped 1.4% in January from a month earlier. At 132.8, the index was flat compared with January 2015. November and December were strong months for the industry, with the seasonally-adjusted index hitting an all-time high of 134.7 in December.