Happy New Year from all of us at Buchheit Logistics, Inc.
What’s happening at Buchheit? Safety is happening! Our focus on safety will continue this New Year and will continue to be the important force driving our business.
Buchheit is honored to be a part of the Missouri Trucking Association’s (MoTA) work towards honoring safe drivers from across the state. The MoTA encourages its member companies to submit qualified drivers to be considered for recognition. Each month, these submissions are given to a committee of independent reviewers from the ranks of the Federal Highway Department, the Highway Patrol and Safety Professionals. Using a prescribed grading methodology, the committee selects the safest driver for each month. Buchheit was overwhelmed and gratified this year, since 7 of the 12 drivers recognized in 2015 as among the safest drivers in Missouri, are Buchheit team members. We salute these “Knights of the Road”. You will recognize Buchheit’s “Drivers of the Month” by special truck decals honoring their accomplishment.
All twelve of the “Drivers of the Month” will participate in the Missouri Trucking Association Safety Conference this April where one will be chosen as “Driver of the Year” for the state of Missouri. We wish them all continued success and safe travels.
Highlights of the current regulatory considerations and what it means for our industry.
Transportation regulation started with railroads back in 1887, followed by regulations in the trucking and airline industries with the passage of the Interstate Commerce Act. This brought forth price controls, barriers to entry, restrictions on routes and roads and it even imposed restrictions on which customers could be served by individual carriers. The government had to approve any and all changes to those restrictions through transportation court actions.
Deregulation activities throughout the 1970’s started by President Nixon, culminated into the Motor Carrier Act of 1980, which was signed into law by President Carter on July 1, 1980. President Carter said, “This historic legislation will remove 45 years of excessive and inflationary Government restrictions and red tape. It will have a powerful anti-inflationary effect, reducing consumer costs by as much as $8 billion each year. And by ending wasteful practices, it will conserve annually hundreds of millions of gallons of precious fuel. All the citizens of our Nation will benefit from this legislation. Consumers will benefit, because almost every product we purchase has been shipped by truck, and outmoded regulations have inflated the prices that each one of us must pay.”
Deregulation, paraphrased from Thomas Moore in the “Concise Encyclopedia of Economics”, allowed the trucking market to offer flexible pricing and service arrangements, disciplined by competition which allowed manufacturers and retailers to reduce inventories, move their products more quickly, and be more responsive to customers. Consumers benefited from more efficient, lower-cost transport of goods.
In 2000, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was established to prevent commercial motor vehicle related fatalities and accidents. Former FMCSA administrator, Annette M. Sandberg, stated that “Washington wants a robust regulatory environment, and I think they have it.” The good news I guess is that the legislative branch recently passed, and the President signed, the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act” or the FAST Act; the first real long-term surface transportation act since the last highway bill expired in 2009. This act provides long-term funding certainty for transportation improvements, allowing the states and local governments to plan and implement long-term solutions. While Congress legislates slowly, the regulatory branch speeds like a rocket.
Just a few of the changes we are watching:
• Heightened efforts to eliminate the Independent Contractor model
• Electronic data recording devices in all Interstate vehicles
• Motor Carrier Insurance changes
• Speed Limiters
• Driver coercion legislation that could affect carriers, brokers and yes, even shippers
• Electronic Stability controls
• Increased Fuel standards – Again
• Increasing tolls and tolling everywhere
• And many, many more
I want to extend my comments on the battle being waged against the Independent operator. While it often seems that the legislators are out of touch with the people, their singular focus on this is a glaring example. The independents, and company drivers of old, were seen as the “Knights of the Road”. The American dream of working your own schedule, being independent to go where you want, when you want, is exemplified with these men and women. Today, we need a review of what we can or cannot say, ask or expect of these folks so that we don’t jeopardize their independent status.
I read some owner operators comments on this topic, that were along the line of;
“We put everything we have into buying a $135,000 truck, and a $45,000 trailer, find a company that will help us get loads, buy fuel or tires. We spend our home time doing maintenance, studying for our endorsements, HazMat, Doubles, and TWIC. We drive 100,000+ miles a year safely, sit in congestion on rough roads in all kinds of weather, only to have a bureaucrat tell us when we have to sleep, when we can leave the house, that we cannot wear someone’s company shirt, and a whole lot more”.
Trucking companies today are numerous and huge compared to the 1980 deregulation times. There were 20,000 carriers in 1980. Today there are 1.2 Million trucking companies employing over 3.5 million drivers. 90% of these companies are independent operators with 6 or fewer trucks. Approximately 9%, are true owner operators running their own trucks, providing for their families and providing services to companies large and small. Trucking delivers the goods as the only transport mode that goes door to door. All drivers are our “Knights of the Road” and deserve our support and thanks. The true entrepreneur, the owner operator deserves it twice.
Regardless of the decisions that are regulated or legislated to the trucking providers, Buchheit’s entire staff is committed to staying informed, preparing for the changes, and leading the efforts of excelling in the trucking and logistics business. That’s why we say and you can expect us to be “Miles Beyond Expectations”.
Until next time,
This and that.
Speaking of the regulatory branch, the EPA’s recently published, “Greenhouse Gas Emissions standards in Phase II,” crosses a new threshold of GHG regulation. Their new regulations for semi-trailers is the first time, I believe, that they have written regulations on non-GHG omitting objects. Trailers don’t create greenhouse gas, they just sit there; at your dock, or follow along behind the truck that grabs them. http://www3.epa.gov/otaq/climate/regs-heavy-duty.htm
Justified in a paper by nonprofit International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), lengthily entitled “Recommendations for Regulatory Design, Testing, and Certification for Integrating Trailers into the Phase II U.S. Heavy-Duty Vehicle Fuel Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Regulation,” sums up recent research on the topic.
Among other “advantages”, Phase II makes trailer manufacturers a “directly regulated entity” within the heavy-vehicle regulatory program “for increased certainty that fuel-saving trailer technologies will be adopted and to provide regulatory clarity.” http://www.theicct.org/integrating-trailers-us-phase-2-hdv-efficiency-rule
Easy reading for these weekend Nor’easters. rg