Overdrive Staff | July 01, 2011

To comment, go to www.regulations.gov; the docket number is FMCSA-2011-0065.

FMCSA also has requested approval by the Office of Management and Budget to revise and extend an existing request to collect information on HOS. The agency, effective June 4, 2010, authorized the use of electronic onboard recorders to create driver records-of-duty status to document HOS. The revised information request estimates the paperwork burden of motor carriers voluntarily using EOBRs.

The currently approved estimate is 181 million hours, as approved by OMB on Aug. 20, 2010; the expiration date of this information collection is Aug. 31. In the newly revised request, FMCSA proposes to reduce the paperwork burden by about 9 million burden hours, or by 5 percent, to 172 million hours.

— Staff reports


MANUFACTURING ACTIVITY expanded in May for the 22nd consecutive month, though at a slower rate, according to the Manufacturing ISM Report On Business. The PMI for May registered 53.5 percent, and while readings above 50 percent generally indicate growth, May’s figure was the first reading below 60 percent for the year.

SURFACE TRANSPORTATION trade between the United States and North American Free Trade Agreement partners Canada and Mexico increased 15.6 percent in March over March 2010 to $80.8 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The March total was the largest since data collection began in 1994.

Fewer drivers available

Trucking’s well-publicized driver shortage will grow next year and beyond, said an FTR Associates economist at an online meeting June 9. The problem is due to fewer new hires to replace retiring drivers, a smaller number of illegal aliens and regulations removing truckers, said Noel Perry, an FTR senior consultant.

He noted that with the Baby Boom generation moving into retirement, the number of people available to trucking to replace those retiring will drop to about 500,000 a year from 1.5 million previously. He added that tougher immigration laws will keep many other potential drivers out of trucks compared with the last decade. In addition, many truckers who were laid off during the recession have either left the industry or found jobs with other carriers, he said.

“It’s going to be fundamentally harder to recruit people,” Perry said.

Take away about 300,000 drivers who will be forced to the sideline because of poor safety records and the driver shortage will grow from about 150,000 positions this year to 300,000 next year and almost 350,000 in 2013, he estimated.

Perry said that productivity gains, primarily by shippers and receivers making changes in their operations, could absorb a large piece of the impact of the driver shortage. Yet, he said, many shippers aren’t convinced of the problem’s size and haven’t acted. That could change quickly if shortages begin appearing.

On rates, Perry forecast a 9-10 percent rise by the end of this year and double-digit increases next year and in 2013.

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