Top Trucking Groups Urge Biden For Action On These ‘5 Immediate Supply Chain Solutions’
Washington D.C. — A broad coalition of trade groups, including major trucking associations, is urging President Joseph Biden to implement “five immediate supply chain solutions.”
This week, a coalition of nearly 100 organizations representing trucking, agriculture, foodservice, warehousing, manufacturing, retail, construction and energy, penned a letter to the Biden Administration offering a five-point plan to ease the ongoing supply chain crisis.
“While we represent different industries, we share the common burden of current supply chain disruptions, which are driving up prices and leading to a growing shortage of goods in the United States, with the holidays just around the corner,” the letter states.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) and Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) were among the transportation-related groups to join the effort.
The coalition’s plan includes: supporting a pilot program which would allow drivers as young as 18-years-old to operate big rigs cross-country, promoting careers in the transportation industry, “flexibility” in the implementation of vaccine mandates, retaining the Trump-era Hours of Service (HOS) reforms, and investigating the “causes of inefficiencies at our nation’s ports.”
While the pilot program allowing younger truckers to operate in interstate commerce could be finalized in Congress soon, the coalition said more needs to be done to promote careers in trucking.
“We encourage federal agencies, including the U.S. Departments of Transportation (USDOT) and Labor, to collaborate with industry and state and local partners to promote transportation and supply chain occupations, particularly commercial truck driving, as a career of choice,” the coalition argued. “We can improve the lives of many unemployed and underemployed Americans by giving them opportunities for advancement while boosting the economy.”
The Biden Administration has also taken a heavy-handed approach on the implementation of vaccine mandates.
The ATA, along with multiple mega carriers, recently met with White House officials to lobby for an exemption for truck drivers.
“We ask for flexibility for transportation and supply chain essential workers, particularly truck drivers who spend most of their time in their trucks and have minimal contact with colleagues and customers,” the coalition wrote.
However, according to the emergency temporary standard (ETS) rule released on Thursday by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), the trucking industry will be afforded no such relief.
Additionally, a rollback of all or some of the Trump-era HOS reforms are currently being discussed within the USDOT as well as being challenged in federal court by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
“We continue to support last year’s changes to the HOS regulations that give commercial truck drivers greater flexibility while improving safety and efficiency. We encourage the Administration to retain these changes and consider providing additional flexibilities that may be needed for the timely delivery of essential goods and that make sense from a safety and operational standpoint,” the coalition stated.