40% of America’s trucking capacity is left on the table every day, MIT expert tells Congress

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An expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told US lawmakers on Wednesday that US long-distance truck drivers are “seriously underutilized” and the problem comes from the scheduling practices of shippers and receivers.

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“This chronic under-utilization problem does not appear to be an unfortunate consequence of what drivers do or do not do themselves, but rather our conventions for scheduling and processing pickup and delivery appointments,” said David Correll, a research scientist. at MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics, as he testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Correll said long-haul, full-truckload drivers spend an average of 6.5 hours driving each workday, even though federal safety rules allow them to drive 11 hours a day.

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“This, of course, means that 40% of America’s trucking capacity is left on the table every day. This is certainly troubling, especially in times of perceived scarcity and crisis, as we now own. “Adding just 18 minutes of driving time to every current truck driver’s day,” he told the House panel, “many of us think is enough to address the driver shortage,” he said. It is possible.

Americans are dealing with a range of shortages and inflation as the US economy retreats from the shutdowns wrought to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. As Businesshala reported, one of the main weak links in supply chains at the moment is the trucking industry.

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How trucking became a weak link in America’s supply chain

“Our existing warehouse and distribution centers show the ability to load and unload trucks relatively quickly, but they only do so from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays, which is a third or so of each working day. represents less.” Correll said. “I submit to this committee that America’s current supply-chain problems are so great that only one-third of our weekdays are committed to our best efforts to open them up.”

The $1 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law on Monday, has provisions aimed at truck drivers, such as an apprenticeship pilot program that opens the door to drivers ages 18 to 20. Is. The program follows agreement on a trade group representing drivers – the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association, or OIIDA – Opposed to open license completely for teenage drivers,

The American Trucking Association, or ATA, which lobbies carriers and other players in the trucking industry, praised the apprenticeship program on Wednesday.

Chris Spear, CEO and President of the ATA, said, “Apprenticeships that train young talent to operate this equipment safely and responsibly will help thanks to the language from the bipartisan Drive Safe Act included in the IIJA, but we need to do more. Is required.” Testified before a House panel.

The ATA has said there is a shortage of truck drivers, with 80,000 needed at the moment, and Spears said his trade group’s “annually reported numbers are good and accurate.” While there is no shortage, OOIDA said, the problem is retaining drivers, as many people do not receive adequate compensation for hours and weeks away from home.

Other provisions in infrastructure PAVE,
-0.19%
Legislation aimed at truckers includes the establishment of an advisory board that would encourage women to pursue trucking careers, as well as requiring automatic emergency braking systems for new trucks in two years. But Ooida criticized the measure for not funding projects for truck parking, saying that “greatest need for security“For truck drivers.

Trucking stocks are showing some big gains in the year to date, while the broader S&P 500 index SPX,
+0.07%
25% is up. JB Hunt Transport Services JBHT,
-0.49%
Old Dominion Freight Line ODFL, up 46%
+0.47%
has climbed 85%, and Knight-Swift Transportation KNX,
-0.57%
40% has moved on. landstar system lstr,
+0.00%
31% higher, and Schneider National SNDR,
-0.54%
has come down to 24%.

This report was first published on November 17, 2021.

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