Trucking Biz Buzz

Make your voice heard in D.C.

The trucking industry today faces an ever increasing number of regulations and mandates. That is why it is essential that the experiences, views, and voices of professional truck drivers and small business owners who truly represent the trucking industry are heard.

To that end, the OOIDA Foundation offers brief instruction on how to submit comments online to the variety of notices, information collection requests, and final rules that are published in the Federal Register.

OOIDA offers a webpage with brief, easy to follow instructions. That is followed by a short list of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration docket items that are coming up that address trucking issues. There is a link for commenting and also to get information from the government.

Make your voice heard. It makes a difference. OOIDA needs your help in its fight for the rights of all truckers.

OOIDA’s Truck to Success class paves the way to become an owner-operator

OOIDA’s Truck to Success class is designed to help those who have considered becoming an owner-operator but aren’t sure where to start.

Truck to Success is scheduled for March 12-14 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Blue Springs, Mo. The class features true trucking experts who have worked and do work for the largest trucking association dedicated to helping drivers in all areas be successful. The training consists of expert trainers and interaction among participants. Some homework is required for full participation.

Truck to Success business education training class is a 2½-day intensive training course. The curriculum is designed to follow a logical transition from a company driver to an independent contractor. Topics include:

  • Developing a business plan that works for you.
  • Buying a new or used truck.
  • Equipment financing.
  • Insurance.
  • Pros and cons of running under your own authority or leasing on to a carrier.
  • New entrant safety audits and compliance reviews.
  • Drug and alcohol testing requirements.
  • Permits and licensing.
  • Taxes and business structures.
  • Brokers and factoring.
  • Current issues affecting the industry.

Registration for OOIDA’s Truck to Success class is open to anyone – you do not have to be a member of OOIDA to participate in the classes.

Tuition for the class is $495 per person. That includes breakfast, lunch and snacks. Lodging is not included. However, participants can book a room at the Courtyard by Marriott and receive OOIDA’s corporate rate. Participants who register before Feb. 1 will receive a year’s membership for free.

To register, visit OOOIDAOnlineEducation.com.

Trucking subsector ends 2018 with 36,600 more jobs for the year

Net transportation jobs increased only slightly in December after four consecutive large increases. The transport sector gained more than 2,000 jobs, weighed down by large losses in the couriers subsector and propped up by relatively large gains in the trucking subsector.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of 2,900 jobs in December after the industry gained more than 4,000 in November and more than 1,000 in October. Trucking jobs ended the year with a net increase of more than 36,000 jobs. Numbers for December and November are preliminary and are likely to change in the coming months.

Truck transportation experienced the largest increase in the sector, followed by warehousing/storage and “support activities” with 1,700 more jobs each. Trucking was close behind with 4,500 more jobs. Although only three subsectors experienced a loss, the more than 5,000 jobs lost in the couriers/messengers subsector limited the sector net gain. The other two losses came from the transit/ground passenger and pipeline subsectors, each losing 200 jobs.

For the year, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of nearly 190,000 jobs, up from 2017’s net increase of nearly 135,000 jobs. Compared to the previous month, there was a net increase in jobs in every month in 2018. November accounted for the largest one-month increase, with 29,000 jobs in the sector added to the economy. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net gain of 36,600 jobs in 2018, significantly higher than 2017’s net increase of 9,400 jobs.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector was $24.40 for December – unchanged from November. Earnings were up 18 cents from December 2017. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees went up 12 cents to $22.14 from the previous month and up 60 cents year to year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $27.48, an 11-cent increase from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 3.2 percent, or 84 cents.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material-moving occupations dropped significantly to 4.4 percent, compared with 5.1 percent in December 2017. However, the rate increased slightly from 4 percent in November. Overall unemployment increased 0.2 percentage points to 3.9 percent. The number of long-term unemployed was mostly unchanged at 1.3 million, accounting for 20.5 percent of the unemployed.

October NAFTA freight hits largest month-to-month increase since March

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in October trucks moved more than 63 percent of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. All five modes experienced an increase in freight year-to-year for the sixth consecutive month.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by 9 percent compared with September, when freight decreased by nearly 5 percent from the previous month. This is the largest month-to-month increase since March, when NAFTA freight rose by nearly 13 percent. Compared to October 2017, freight was up more than 10 percent. This marks the 24th consecutive month of year-to-year increases.

In 2017, March had the largest month-to-month increase (16 percent) since March 2011, when NAFTA freight was up more than 22 percent compared to February 2011. NAFTA freight declined by nearly 11 percent in July 2017, the largest decline for the year.

In March 2017, the index reached more than $100 billion for the first time since October 2014 before going back below that mark in April. That landmark was revisited in October 2017 and maintained through November 2017 before dipping below the $100 billion mark again in December. March marked the first month in 2018 to reach beyond $100 million, which has been maintained through at least October so far.

Trucks carried more than $70 billion of the nearly $111 billion of imports and exports in October.

Year-to-year, Canada truck freight increased by 9 percent and Mexico freight rose by 11.3 percent. Top truck commodities were computers and parts, electrical machinery, motor vehicles and parts, plastics and measuring/testing instruments.

Freight totaled $110.8 billion, up more than $9 billion from the previous month and an increase of more than $10 billion from October 2017.

Vessel freight accounted for the largest increase at 33.8 percent after an increase of 34.2 percent in September. Trucks accounted for an increase of 9 percent, the second smallest increase among the different modes next to rail at 4 percent. Truck freight experienced increases of 4.2 percent in September and 5.7 percent in August.

Nearly 57 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.1 percent. Of the $56.6 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 70 percent of the loads.

Kenworth to auction truck to benefit Truckers Against Trafficking

As part of an effort to fight human trafficking, Kenworth is auctioning its special “Everyday Heroes” Kenworth T680 with the proceeds going to Truckers Against Trafficking.

The Everyday Heroes truck, which will have a distinctive paint scheme and signage, will make its first public appearance at a news conference on Jan. 15 at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The truck will later make stops at the Technology and Maintenance Council meeting in Atlanta (March 18-21), Mid-America Truck Show in Atlanta (March 28-30), and at Ritchie Bros. in Phoenix (May 17), where it will be auctioned.

All of the money from the sale of the Kenworth T680, which has a retail value of $162,000, will go to Truckers Against Trafficking. The truck includes a 76-inch sleeper.

Kenworth also auctioned a truck for Truckers Against Trafficking in 2017.

“Nearly every single company that donated in the 2017 auction has agreed to sponsor the truck in 2019, and we’ve added new sponsors this year as well,” said Don Blake, truck sales manager at Inland Kenworth in Phoenix. “There are many good companies willing to donate their time and money to this great cause. When the auction is done, there will be an owner with a special truck that is fitted with the best specs.”

Since the start of Truckers Against Trafficking, about 663,000 truck drivers and truck stop operators have been trained to spot human trafficking.

The 2017 Kenworth auction garnered $89,000 for the nonprofit group.

FMCSA sets 2019 UCR fees

For the second year in a row, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration slid in under the end-of-the-year wire and finalized the Unified Carrier Registration fees for 2019 and 2020 on Dec. 28.

The fees were published in the Federal Register, going into effect immediately, kicking off the collection period. FMCSA was delayed in publishing the fee schedule earlier because of a need to reduce fees from previous levels. Because of that delay the agency invoked the Administrative Procedure Act. That act allows agencies to make rules effective immediately with good cause, instead of requiring publication 30 days before the effective date.

Since 2016, motor carriers paying into the UCR program have overpaid the revenue due to the 41 participating states. The UCR board recommended reducing starting in 2018. The fees were again reduced in 2019 with the official publication. For example, for the smallest motor carrier the 2019 fees are $14 cheaper than they paid in 2017 and $7 cheaper than in 2018.

Fees for 2020 also were set in the final rule, and, while they show an increase over the 2018 fees, they still remain lower than 2017 fees.

Fees for 2019

Fleet size Fee
0-2 $62
3-5 $185
6-20 $368
21-100 $1,283
101-1,000 $6,112
1,000 or more      $59,689

 

Fees for 2020

Fleet size Fee
0-2 $68
3-5 $204
6-20 $407
21-100 $1,420
101-1,000 $6,766
1,001 and more      $66,072

OOIDA members can get assistance with submitting their fees through the Permits and Licensing Department. They will begin processing UCR payments starting Jan. 2. Motor carriers must pay the fee within 90 days.

(Editor’s note: Land Line will continue to provide updates on deadlines and enforcement activities contingent on the rule’s effective date.)

Another ELD maker closes up shop

ZED ELD, the Cummins-powered electronic logging device, is being phased out, and users only have a month to find another one before the company pulls the plug.

In a notice on its website, ZED Connect is shutting down the ZED ELD product. The company negotiated a “zero-cost” transfer agreement with Stoneridge EZ-ELD. Current ZED customers will have to opt into the Stoneridge deal in order to transfer.

The company is only giving fleets a few days to figure out what to do. Smaller operations will have a bit more time. Fleets have until Dec. 31 to opt in. Others will need to do it by mid-January because the transfer will take up to two weeks to complete. All users have until Jan. 31, 2019, to opt into Stoneridge or another provider.

Those who wait to do anything until after the ZED ELD quits working, have eight days to find another one and must use paper logs to record their hours of service for those eight days.

ZED is the second ELD manufacturer to officially announce it is pulling out of the ELD market. The first was ONE 20 F-ELD.

Truckers looking for ELD options can review the self-certified devices here. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association also maintains a list of complaints from members about different devices. Click here to review that information.

Your guide to the 2019 Mid-America Trucking Show

Q: What’s the show schedule?
A: The Mid-America Trucking Show is scheduled Thursday through Saturday, March 28-30 at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville. On Thursday, there will be a VIP session from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with doors open to the public from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. On Friday, the doors will open to the general public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Saturday, the show is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Q: Where is OOIDA going to be this year?
A: The Association plans to have two booths at the 2019 show. Just like last year, we will be in Booth 11128 in the North Wing and Booth 65229 in the West Wing. You can catch OOIDA’s tour truck in the PKY Truck Beauty Championship in Lot J behind the West Wing.

It will cost only $35 to join or renew your OOIDA membership at MATS.

Q: How much are MATS tickets?
A: Nothing, if you handle things right. Online preregistration at TruckingShow.com continues until Feb. 28. If you register before Feb. 28, a badge will be mailed to your address.

After Feb. 28, it will cost you $10 – either to preregister or at the door – to get into the show, and you will have to wait in line for your badge to be printed. If you preregister, be sure to print out your registration confirmation and bring it with you to the show to exchange for your badge.

Your badge is good for all three days of the show.

Q: Where can I park my truck?
A: Tractor-trailer parking is $30 daily, and spots with hook-ups are available for $50. Spots with hook-ups must be reserved by calling 502-367-5380. If you’re in your personal vehicle, it will cost you $10 to park each day.

Free tractor-trailer parking is available courtesy of show management at Cardinal Stadium. Shuttle buses to and from the Kentucky Expo Center also are provided for anyone parking at the stadium.

Q: What are some of the attractions?
A: The Paul K. Young Truck Beauty Championship and awards ceremony will be hosted on-site, including Lights after MATS on Wednesday night and Thursday night, and the PKY Competitor Parade following the close of the show on Saturday. You can catch the parade on the Expo Center’s perimeter road.

Other events include a concert Friday night as well as educational seminars. Past concerts have featured such entertainers as Kellie Pickler, Craig Morgan, Gretchen Wilson, the Marshall Tucker Band, John Anderson, Thompson Square, Randy Houser, and Sugarland. This year’s featured act is expected to be announced in January. Complimentary tickets to the concert will be distributed, while supplies last, from sponsors during show hours. 

To learn more about the show, you can find a list of frequently asked questions here.

Mary Johnston Scholarship benefits descendants of OOIDA members

The OOIDA Mary Johnston Scholarship Program has helped dozens of truck drivers’ children pay for college.

Started in 1998, the scholarship has contributed $315,000 to 100 awardees, who are the children, grandchildren and legal dependents of OOIDA members. In the coming months, a new batch of prospective students will be named scholarship recipients.

Applications and all required materials for the 2019 scholarships must be postmarked no later than Feb. 1.

Each year, one $2,000 scholarship and four $1,000 scholarships are awarded. An alternate also is named each year. The funds are transferred directly to the student’s selected institution and can be renewed for a total of four years. 

The funds can be used for tuition or any legitimate school-related expenses.

Each student must submit an application, 500-word essay on the topic indicated on the application and a transcript from high school or from an institution of higher learning. To learn more about how to apply, go here.

The students are selected in a blind evaluation conducted by the OOIDA Scholarship Advisory Committee.

Winners will be notified by a letter after OOIDA’s spring board meeting. OOIDA will verify enrollment and deposit the funds directly into the student’s account at the college or technical school of his or her choice. Funds will be available in the first week of August for each year.

Donations to the scholarship program can be made here.

Sleigh Bells and Santa provides gifts for children of deceased truckers

Truckers Final Mile is still accepting donations for its Sleigh Bells and Santa program, which provides Christmas gifts to the children of deceased truck drivers.

The campaign is open to any child age 18 or younger who lost a truck driver parent in the past year. To refer an eligible child, send a detailed email with contact and verifying information to sleighbells@TruckersFinalMile.org by Dec. 14.

New, unwrapped gifts can be mailed to TruckersFinalMile.org; 3301-R Coors Blvd. NW 293; Albuquerque, NM 87120. Cash donations will be accepted through Paypal on the website through Dec. 21. All of the money received will go toward gifts for the children.

Founded by OOIDA member Robert Palm in 2013, Truckers Final Mile is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity that helps return truck drivers to their families in the event of death.

The Sleigh Bells and Santa campaign was added in 2015 and started small. Nineteen children received $834 worth of gifts in 2015. Then $1,900 worth of donations were distributed to nine families in 2016, and 12 children received gifts from a total of $1,400 worth of donations last year.

“This is a good thing,” Palm said. “This year is the first year we’ve really pushed it out to the media. We hope it grows into something recognized by the entire trucking industry in the next few years.”

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