Trending Transportation Update: March 2022

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We saw the Biden-Harris Administration plan for FLOW, truck tonnage increase, truckers see little benefits with the diesel tax relief plans and more. 

Check out February's transportation updates for the shipping industry if you missed them.

Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Initiative to Improve Supply Chain Data Flow

Biden-Harris Administration has focused on addressing supply chain congestion and weaknesses, continuously trying to speed up the movement of goods and lower costs for families. The Administration is also focused on addressing long-term weaknesses because of underinvestment, outsourcing, and offshoring instead of investment in long-term security, sustainability, and resilience.

The Biden-Harris Administration has announced the launch of Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW), an information-sharing initiative to conduct key freight information exchange between parts of the goods movement supply chain. It is designed to support businesses throughout the supply chain and improve the accuracy of information from end to end. With 18 initial participants representing diverse perspectives across the supply chain working together to ease supply chain congestions, speed up the movement of goods, and cut costs for American consumers. 

FLOW will continue to build on ongoing supply chain achievements, including:

  • Reduced Dwell Time in Los Angeles and Long Beach
  • Alleviated congestion at the Port of Savannah 
  • Secured commitments to move towards 24/7 operations 

Learn more about FLOW and the 18 partners committed to working with the Biden-Harris Administration to create a more resilient and fluid supply chain here.

Truck Tonnage Up 2.4% Year-Over-Year in February

According to American Trucking Association (ATA), truck tonnage in February increased 2.4 percent compared to February of last year, and the For-Hire Truck Index equaled 115.3. After moving up 0.4 percent in January, the index remained unchanged month-to-month, said Bob Costello, ATA's chief economist.

According to Costello, the current market conditions remain the same. There is still a shortage of at least 80,000 truck drivers. As a result, the ATA said there are some difficulties purchasing new and used equipment, especially class 8 vehicles. For-hire carriers are operating about 7 percent fewer trucks before the Pandemic.

"Demand for trucking freight services remains strong, but for-hire contract carriers are capacity constrained due to the driver and equipment markets. Costello said that the spot market has been surging as these carriers can't haul all the freight they are asked to move," Costello said. "So, the fact that the tonnage index hasn't fully recovered is a supply problem, not a lack of demand."

Learn more about the truck tonnage and the current industry's condition.

Trucking Sees Little Benefit to Diesel Tax Relief Plans

With fuel prices increasing weekly and U.S. citizens seeing record high prices, there has been a move by states to suspend diesel fuel taxes temporarily. In Maryland, gasoline and diesel taxes have been suspended as the state stopped collections of its approximately 37-cents-per-gallon motor fuel tax for 30 days. Georgia has also suspended its 29-cents-per-gallon gas tax and 33-cents-per-gallon diesel tax until May 31. There is a discussion of other states to follow. However, truckers whose job is to drive long routes daily will have little benefit to this new diesel tax relief plan. 

Motor fuel taxes are collected at both the federal and state level. At the federal level, 18.4 cents per gallon for gas and 24.3 cents per gallon for diesel goes to the federal government.

"It probably wouldn't have much impact," said Darrin Roth, vice president of highway policy for American Trucking Associations (ATA). "Most of those savings wouldn't be passed on to consumers. The long-term cost, if the money is not replaced, would be that our already deteriorating infrastructure would deteriorate more. That's more of a concern than a couple of cents change in gas price, from our perspective."

Learn more about the diesel tax relief plan here.

2022 State Truck Driving Championships Schedule

On March 1, Transport Topics finalized almost all 50 states' 2022 weekly schedule for state truck driving championships! The State Truck Driving Championships is when truck drivers compete against one another in parallel parking. The schedule is out now on their website. Check out your state's competition dates here.

The winners from each of the nine categories advance to the National Truck Driving and Step Van Driving Championships in Indianapolis from August 16th –20th.

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